LONDON & NORTH WESTERI
UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA.
Received AUG 171892 . i8g
Accessions No.A^^^^^, Class No.
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LONDON & NORTH WESTERN
AND OTHEE MEMOEANDA
LIFE OF DAVID STEVENSON.
EDITED BY LEOPOLD TUENER.
PRINTED m 5PC0RQU0DALE & CO. LIMITED,
CARDINGTON STREET, EUSTON, N.W.
'HPHESE writings have been placed in my hands for the
purpose of submitting- them to the public. I have found
litde to advise or suggest respecting them ; my principal share
in their introduction consisting of the addition to the sketch and
letters of a few of Mr. Stevenson's poetical pieces — pieces which
may, I think, enhance the interest the friends he already possesses
are likely to take in the leading portion of his little work, and
which may not, I trust, escape the approbation of those other
friends whose companionship — granting it is to be enjoyed—
inust date from the day of publication.
TN the early days of my active service upon the railway, it was
my practice to write almost daily, in easy journalistic
fashion, to my dear friend and connection, the Rev. Robert
Turnbull, Vicar of Wybunbury, Cheshire. He preserved some
of the letters, and, at his lamented death, his widow returned them
to me. A few friends requested me to write an introduction
to them, giving- some further account of my experience and
recollection, and to publish them. With many misgivings as to
the favourable acceptance of such lucubrations from me, even by
the large body of railway men to " whom my name is familiar,
I consented to do so, reserving their publication until the period
of my retirement from the service. The recollections were written
long before the Jubilee Year, and the teeming personal accounts
which then became the rage, and have since continued to flood the
press, destroyed the little hope I ever had that my poor book,
would ever be of any general interest. It may, however, serve to
recall my name to those railway friends and others, with whom
for so many years my life has been passed, "when my place
shall know me no more," and when for me at least, in all mundane
considerations, the *' pleasures of hope" shall have given place to
the " pleasures of memory."
TN the leafy month of June, 1837, when the heralds were
proclaiming the Princess Victoria queen of these realms, one
of the most humble and loyal of her future subjects entered the
service of the new method of locomotion called the Railway.
That child of scientific invention had just begun to stretch
its powerful limbs over the length and breadth of the
land, and was destined to be one of the greatest influences
towards the prosperity and progress of the good Queen's long
and brilliant reign.
I was introduced to Mr. Ashlin Bagster, who had been
appointed, at the nomination of Mr. Robert Stephenson, to be
the first manager of the London and Birmingham line: a tall
and serious-looking gentleman, who shook his head when, at
his bidding, I copied a letter as a specimen of my hand-writing.
I was, however, appointed a cadet in his office at a salary of
twenty pounds per annum ; the first clerk to the first manager of
the railway I
It was an exciting period ; for after a long and animated
struggle, Mr. George Carr Glyn, the chairman, and his colleagues,
had obtained the sanction of the legislature; Mr. Robert
Stephenson had overcome the difficulties of surveying the line,
at the point of the pitch-fork and other obstructions of the land-
owners; had conquered the engineering difficulties, and nearly
completed the work which a pamphleteer of the time endeavoured
to prove to be a greater work than the erection of the Egyptian
pyramids. The time had arrived when a portion of the line was
to be opened to the public. The engines were ready, Mr. Joseph
Wright's carriages were built, the stations were constructed as far
as Boxmoor, twenty- three miles, and it was decided to engage the
staff — clerks, porters, policemen, drivers, firemen, and mechanics
— and begin. Mr. Richard Creed and Captain Constantino
Richard Moorsom were the joint secretaries prior to the opening-
of the railway. Mr. Creed had his office at Cornhill, in London,
and Captain Moorsom at Birmingham. They were appointed in
September, 1833. At the same time Robert Stephenson was
selected as the engineer. This was at the first meeting of the
Board. Previously the business of the Company had been
conducted by two committees, one in London, and the other in
Birmingham. Mr. Creed had been a partner in the banking
house of Fauntleroy & Co., the head of which firm was executed
for forgery, the last victim to the inhuman law in such cases.
Mr. Creed had subsequently been sent by the Government to
Paris to settle the English claims upon France consequent upon
the Treaty of Peace.
The details of the preparation for the opening fell upon
Mr. Bagster, at a salary of £400 per annum, and his small
band of assistants at Euston, at salaries from £20 to £150.
This gentleman provided many of the methods and forms which
were adopted afterwards by most of the railways, and which
still remain in use. Of those who took part in the preparations
only a few rose to distinction in the development of railways.
Mr. Bagster left the London and Birmingham, and took service
on a northern line, but died early. Mr. Fox, the resident
engineer, went into trade, and was knighted during the
Exhibition of 1851. Mr. Kenneth Morison became the founder
of the Railway Clearing House, and the remainder, disappearing
in the course of time, made, as I have said, no mark of
importance. Joseph Atkinson, the chief of the mechanics, whose
father had been a near neighbour of the elder Stephenson in his
humble days, was an ingenious inventor, and the author of the
carriage truck still in use, and of improvements in waggons and
other valuable aids to the new system. Ill health afterwards
shortened his career of usefulness.
i^N the twentieth of July, 1837, the road to Boxmoor was
^^ opened by the Directors and their friends, and the down
journey was conducted satisfactorily ; but on the return, on
descending- the incline to Euston, the first of the two trains ran
into collision with the end of the platform. The brakesman,
Kirkup by name, turned the brake, which then worked from a
seat on the top of the carriage, the wrong- way, and lost command
of the train. Kirkup g-ave an explanation in the broad
Newcastle dialect, but as he was very much excited, I am unable
to record it. The manag-er who was also inclined to Newcastle
speech, said it was "pweposterwous." Plaster for broken heads,
and a few repairs, soon restored matters, and the running of
trains for the public commenced.
The following is a copy of the notice issued to the Public : —
LONDON AND BIRMINGHAM RAILWAY.
PARTIAL OPENING OF THE LINE, 1837.
The public are informed that on and after Thursday, the 20th inst., the
Railway will be opened for the conveyance of Passengers and Parcels to and from
London and Boxmoor, including the intermediate stations of Harrow and Watford.
First class coaches carry six passengers inside, and each seat is numbered.
Second class coaches carry eight passengers inside, and are covered, but
without lining, cushions or divisions, and the seats are not numbered.
Third class coaches carry four passengers on each seat, and are without
The following, until further notice, will be the times for departure of the
Trains. On every day except Sundays.
First Time Bill of the London and Birmingham Railway, copied from Original.
HOURS OF DEPARTURE.
From Ziondon :
FIRST TRAIN . . . ... 10 o' Clock.
SECOND do. ..... 2 „
THIRD do. ..... 5 „
From Boxmoor :
FIRST TRAIN ^o' Clock.
SECOND do. , ... 2 ,,
THIRD do. ..... 7 „
From Xiondon :
FIRST TRAIN d&ClocL
SECOND do 5 „
THIRD do. . . , . 7 „
FIRST TRAIN 9 o' Clock.
SECOND do, . . . . 5 „
THIRD do, . . . . . 7 „
Curiosity brought thousands of passengers ; but in the third
class open carriages the dust from the roofs ot the tunnels and the
newly made line, and the hot cinders from the engines, gave
them rough travelling. Paper tickets were used torn from books
with a reserved duplicate; and as the line opened to longer
distances the name of each passenger booked was entered in the
duplicate, after the manner of the old coaching days. On
October i6th, 1837, the line was further opened to Tring, and on
April 9th, to Denbigh Hall. The stage coaches and mails were
conveyed on carriage-trucks to Denbigh Hall, thence by road to
Rugby, and the rest of the journey by rail to Birmingham. The
stations were enlivened by the sound of the bugle, but the coach-
guards were disgusted with their outside ride on the railway.
The railway guards also had an unpleasant time, for, adhering
to old usage they too rode outside on the top of the carriage,
where, amidst other disagreeables, their clothes sometimes caught
fire. The roadside stations were enclosed with lofty iron railings,
within which the passengers were imprisoned until the train
arrived ; they were then permitted to rush out to take their places,
for which they sometimes had to join in a free fight. Then the
engine gave a prolonged whistle, which Charles Dickens described
as saying ''Here are two hundred and fifty people in the veriest
extremity of danger ; and here are their two hundred and fifty
screams all in one "I The clatter caused by the stone blocks,
which were used before the wooden sleepers replaced them,
added to the unpleasantness of the journey. Thus the success of
the new mode of conveyance was not then established in ihe
popular mind ; and coach proprietors and others interested in its
expected failure, still hoped on, and in many cases lost money
by their lingering belief in the old system. Not so the leading
men connected with the London establishment. Benjamin Worthy
Home, William Chaplin, and others, took early steps to connect
themselves with the railway companies.
Home and Chaplin became the London and Birmingham
Co.'s agents for parcels and omnibuses, and did good service for
many years in the organisation of branch coaches and in providing
temporary conveyances in periods of floods and landslips when
parts of the line became impassable. It was, however, some
time before the general public fully believed in the permanence of
the railways. Large sums were spent in improving the high roads
for the coaches when the railways were approaching completion,
and some were actually open for traffic.
"DY this time, near the site of the place where Trevithick
had exhibited his first locomotive engine, Philip Hardwick's
great Doric entrance to Euston reared its solid front, and was
considered a handsome addition to the architecture of London.
In removing the scaffolding, but fortunately while the men were
at dinner, a large portion of the hugh baulks of timber, of which
the scaffolding was composed, fell to the ground with a loud
In September, 1838, the line was opened throughout from
London to Birmingham, and the duties of the several departments
had become more defined. At first everybody made himself
useful in that which came to hand. I collected cash bags from
the stations, worked in the office, carried a torch at night when
the trains were late — for we had no gas in the earlier months —
booked passengers, engaged policemen or porters, and did
anything else I was told. Sometimes I acted as brakesman to
the passenger trains from Camden to Euston; and when the
first Napoleon's celebrated general. Marshal Soult, paid us the
honour of a visit, I assisted the General Manager and the Superin-
tendent of Police in lowering the train to Euston, ordinary
brakesmen being put aside on so important an occasion.
Railway Managers of this day would be shocked at the free-and-
easy use of the main line between Camden and Euston at this time.
Thus, the manager rode to Euston on a waggon which he lowered
himself; and any superior officer had the power to adopt this
method of making the journey, quite regardless of what might be
in the way. On one occasion, on taking down a very high-sided
waggon, I had to stand outside the vehicle on the buffer,
intending to work the brake with my foot, but midway I found I
could not reach it, and I was only saved by the aid of a very long
porter who happened to be with me. All hands were proficient
at this braking, for we used to make small wagers as to stopping
the waggons or carriages to an inch on the turntable at the bottom.
After serving- a few months in the audit office, and in the
opening- of the through line to Birmingham, I was drafted from
the Manager's office to Camden Station, in connection
1838. with the Stores and Construction Departments. This
was a change for the worse as regards my personal
comfort. The office was a rough wooden erection, with an
earthen floor, and contained, by day, myself in my great coat,
the stores of all kinds, a table, a small cabin stove, and the
mice. Chalk Farm was in the country then, and I had to prepare
my meals at the small stove, and to consume them assisted by the
mice, who evidently had a great contempt for my presence.
The place was always muddy. The station had been raised
from the road by the earth from the Primrose Hill Tunnel, and
this new clay produced a Slough of Despond, which I have only
seen equalled at the Royal Agricultural Show, at Kilburn, a few
Still the building of waggons for the intended goods traffic
went on, and I kept my books and blew my fingers until better
times came. During this period I was instructed to obtain a
sight of the patent for Booth's Patent Grease, some trouble
having been experienced for want of a suitable lubricant for the
carriage axles. I did so, and made the first can of the compound
in my shed, and, as it was found successful, the Company afterwards
purchased the use of the patent, and have adopted it ever since.
Chalk Farm Tavern was then at the end of a lane near my
office. It had been, as is well known, a celebrated duelling place,
and it still retained some of its faded grandeur, as a place of resort
for dancing and fetes. The large ball-room was decked with
chandeliers and convex mirrors. An elevated gallery led to the
tea-garden, at the entrance to which the figures of two soldiers
were painted. The Chalk Farm Fair had not yet begun, but
the navvies, during the making of the tunnel, had lowered the
character of the place. When over their beer at night, their singing
could be heard far away. A favourite chorus of theirs was to this
" And the guns shall be rattling,
A-rattling and roaring,
A-rattling and roaring, Oho-0-0-0!"
The stentorian sound must have surprised the crows at Hampstead.
, ' These navvies became quite a class when canals were cut, and
came in valuably for the railway work. They took their
designation from the word 'navig-ation,' and retained it after they
had changed their occupation. The pure air and hard earth-work
made them models of physique. They were utterly fearless, and
were very fond of beer and an occasional fight, but were other-
wise simple and honest fellows. They were in the habit of calling
"Ware out," when anything was thrown down or falling; and
it is said that a man, falling over his barrow at the mouth of an
abyss, finding that he must inevitably fall down the shaft, cried,
''Ware out! Navvie a-coming ! " I do not, however, vouch for
the truth of the story.
As a number of rats joined the mice and me in our shed,
and the rain began to damage the books and goods, it was
found necessary to make room for me in the office of the
engineer and. timekeepers, beneath an arch of Chalk Farm
Bridge ; and then we organised a daily ordinary at the Chalk
Farm Tavern, which suited me better than the cabin-stove
feasts. The wag of the party was our engineer, who ultimately
became the General Manager of more than one important
railway. He used to resent the bad fare provided for us, and
played the old landlord many a practical joke. On one occasion
a putrid sucking pig was served, and, as we could not eat it, our
friend nailed it over the mantel-piece of the room and rang the
bell. Boniface appeared and tore down the pig, anathematising
us all. Pigeon-shooting at the place gave us pigeon-pies to
satiety ; but I suppose the pies were running short one day,
when a lady and gentleman drove up and ordered dinner. The
landlord came into our room and asked if we could spare the pie.
We replied, " In a minute or two;" and it was then taken away,
but not before " George " had abstracted the pigeons and'replaced
them with potatoes. *' Guess," said he, " there will be a ringing
of bells presently," and so there was; also the ordering of the
horse and gig, in great indignation, and the departure of tjie
lady and gentleman. At another time the cook was overheard
remonstrating with the landlord on the unfitness of a goose for
human food, when mine host was heard to say, *'Oh, bless it,
pepper it ; pepper it ; /hey' 11 eat it ! " But that goose disappeared,
and it has not yet been discovered what became of it.
nPHE working- of the line went struggling towards a state of
order. The rails were found to be too light for the traffic —
56th fish-bellied rails in some cases — the stone blocks a failure ;
fires to luggage on the tops of the carriages frequent ; signals by
flag and hand lamps insufficient. The signalmen, dressed in
police uniform, had been drilled by Mr. Superintendent Bedford,
formerly of the Guards and lately of the Metropolitan Police,
and they brought the flag-staff round to the shoulder, as the
trains passed, with true military precision. But they were not
enough, and sig-nal posts were contemplated. These and many
other defects occupied the Board and Management. The subject
of goods traffic engaged much consideration, and, on the
resignation of Mr. Bagster, Mr. Joseph Baxendalewas appointed
manager of the line. He removed the manager's office to
Camden Station, in a building originally intended for the
passenger booking office, before the extension of the railway
to Euston. Into this building Mr. Robert Stephenson's office was
also transferred, from a house in St. John's Wood, since called
the Eyre Arms Tavern, in the grounds at the back of which the
ladies and gentlemen used to practice for the celebrated Eglinton
Tournament, which took place about this time. I am afraid
they hindered the work of the drawing clerks very much, and for
my own part I must confess that I sometimes tilted when I should
have been otherwise engaged.
The stores and engineer's departments were likewise brought
into the manager's building.
Two more suitable men could not have been called to the
councils of the Board at such a period than Mr. Joseph
Baxendale and Mr. Benjamin Worthy Home. Their experience
and energy, in relation to the conveyance both of passengers
and goods, were of the highest order. Yet they were totally
different in character, as in appearance. Mr. Home was a tall
wiry man, of determined face and rapid speech, quick in manner.
irritable, and prompt of action. He largely contributed to the
g-reat efficiency of the stage coaches, and had been found a bitter
opponent to many a competitor in the struggles for ascendancy
on many a road. He once pointed out to me a road-side inn
where he went one night, years before, and bought up all the
horses of the coach opposed to his, driving by triumphantly in the
morning where the rival coach, with its passengers, had come to
an unexpected stand. Mr. Baxendale was a shorter and a
broader man than Mr. Home. He was cheerful and witty in
conversation, ever had a word of encouragement for the
youngsters, and was universally beloved by those whom
he employed. The success of Pickford & Co., and the general
efficiency of that establishment, proved his administrative power ;
and his foresight and wisdom at this critical time for carriers
were borne out by eminent results. His clear system of forms
and arrangements, by which a hold of the goods conveyed is
maintained from the time they leave the consignor until they
reach their destination, continues to be the basis of the carrying-
business all over the kingdom.
npHE g-oods traffic was commenced by the transfer of some of
'■' Messrs. Pickford & Co.'s extensive canal traffic to the line,
and a small temporary loading- shed was built for the purpose,
in 1839. The old wagg-on sheds were removed, and an
1839 adequate workshop for the construction of wagg-ons was
erected ; while at Euston a commodious carriage shop
was established, the works being- placed under Mr. Worsdell
and his son.
The endless rope by which the trains had been drawn up the
incline from Euston was abolished, and the marine engines and
two lofty chimneys at Camden were removed. The long- discussed
question of the adhesion of the locomotive engine wheels to the
rails, had been settled in some degree, and that power had
replaced the rope. The latter had long; worked unsatisfactorily,
causing many minor accidents, and on one occasion nearly
destroying- the writer of this humble record. The skid which was
placed in the rear of the trains sometimes became partly
detached, and was thrown about wildly on its passage up the
incline, to the great alarm of persons walking- on the line, of
whom there were many at that time. The messenger rope from
the foremost carriage to the endless rope frequently slipped or
broke. The signal apparatus, which was a vessel on the
principle of a gasometer, and moved some coloured water in a
tube at the engine-house end, and also blew a whistle, failed
Messrs. Cook and Wheatstone brought to the carriage shops
a mysterious quantity of wire and began a series of electric
experiments. Many wondrous reports were told us of our being
likely to talk with people at a distance, by means of a wire
and a pianoforte like instrument. There, in a corner of the
carpenter's shop, reposed the embryo Puck, which was to put a
girdle round the earth, remove prejudices, equalise prices,
annihilate space, and, with its elder brother, the railway, mingle
the races of men and become the many-leag-ued boots on the feet
of Civilisation. But the doubting" world received this invention
with incredulity, as it ever does the boons which science confers.
On July 25th, 1837, two copper wires were laid between
, Euston and Camden, and the two quiet inventors placed
themseves one at either end and conversed. The
1837. mig-hty and mysterious thing- was proved a practical
success, whose development would bring the human
voice within instantaneous communication with each other at any
distance, and make the whole world kin.
The gradual opening of Railways into London and other
parts of the Kingdom brought us many learners of our forms and
system, and occasionally we were sent to them to render
assistance. On a trip of the kind to Leicester, I first met Mr.
James Allport, of the Midland Railway, who was then doing duty
in the booking- office, from whence he rose to the rank of
Director and Knighthood.
Further steps were taken to improve the goods traffic. A
Goods Committee of Directors, with Captain Moorson for
Chairman, was appointed; that gentleman having become a
Director. Hitherto the Directors had not taken an active part in
the details of the departments, and the power for the general
management rested with the Chief Officers, their proceedings
being confirmed by the Board in almost a merely formal way.
The Chairman, Mr. Glyn, and his colleagues, confined their
personal efforts to matters of policy, finance, &c. The Secretary
was the Chief Officer, the Superintendent being- responsible to
him for the working- and staff arrangements. Captain Moorsom,
in his new office, began a more active control in the details of the
young- Goods Department. Mr. Wyatt, from Pickford & Co's
establishment, was made the Goods Manager, and the Company
began to carry on toll for some of the important carriers, in
addition to Pickford and Co. Mr. Baxendale, at this time,
resigned the superintendence of the line, and was succeeded by
Mr. H. P. Bruyeres, a late Officer of Engineers. The goods
traffic progi'essed but slowly, however, although inducements
were offered to road and canal carriers to transfer their business
to the railway.
At this time I volunteered from the Stores into the Goods
Department, which had always seemed to me the most interest-
ing and important branch of the business. I had
1840. already familiarised myself with the parcels work, in
my leisure evenings, and I made the change, believing
that the merchandise branch of the railways would afford the
best career, although I knew it to be the most difficult and
After a few years' service Mr. Wyatt died, and was
succeeded by Mr. Thomas C. Mills, formerly connected with
the Birmingham Coaches, and subsequently Station Master at
Birmingham. He had exhibited considerable energy during the
riots at Birmingham, when the Company's station was
threatened. In appearance he resembled the representations
of Oliver Cromwell. He had much of that great man's blunt-
ness of character, without, I fear, much of his piety. Under his
management the tolls were so considerably reduced as to com-
mand the bulk of the general trade hitherto sent by canal.
Sheds were erected for the large carriers, for which they paid a
rental ; and Pickford & Co. built their own premises, adjoining
the station, on land purchased by Mr. Baxendale years before,
in anticipation. Chaplin & Home became Goods agents for
the Grand Junction Railway Co., and had also suitable accommo-
dation provided for them at Camden. The Company provided
waggons which they placed in a siding, from whence the carriers
turned them into their respective sheds. Occasionally the
Company supplied tarpaulins for the waggons, for which a
charge was made. I am precise in stating this arrangement,
because of attempts in after years to deny the rights of Railway
Companies to terminal charges. When the legislature first pro-
vided for the toll upon Turnpike Roads, the term did not include any
services but the transit over the roadway; the coach proprietors
and others using the way provided their own terminal con-
veniences. We find the term " toll " used again in reference to
the Canal charges ; and here also the carriers were permitted to
use the water-way for the toll they paid, and provide their own
quays, wharves, and warehouses at the end of the journey.
Pickford & Co. built their terminal at the City Basin; and
others rented wharves. It is reasonable to suppose that when
the Parliamentary powers were granted to the railways, the
repetition of the use of this word ''toll" was intended to convey
the same meaning" as when it was used by the same powers for
canals and roadways. Mr. Baxendale, the largest carrier at
the time, certainly expected that any future carrier on toll upon
the railway would have to rent or provide his own terminal con-
veniences, in addition to the payment of the toll for the use of
the line. Some years before the London railways carried any
goods, Mr. Baxendale took the opportunity of purchasing land
adjoining the London and North Western Railway at Camden
Station, as before mentioned, sufficient to receive his ware-
houses when the time should come for the transfer of his traffic
from the canal to the railway. On this piece of ground he
afterwards erected his premises at Camden Station, and carried
on the trade of carrier on toll; while his competitors rented
sheds, cranes, &c., within the station, which were built by the
Railway Company. Thus, it was thoroughly understood at this
period that the toll did not include the terminals ; and I think
the fact fully shows that the attempt to force the Companies to
provide costly stations, and then to deprive them of the right to
a fair remuneration for the provision, was altogether unjust, and
contrary to all originally understood notions on the subject.
Under the altered system the traffic increased week by week.
It fell to my duty to make up the daily totals from the weights ot
the Company, dividing it under the several rates
1844. according to the declarations of the carriers; a severe
task, for many hours each day. I, however, held out,
and received gratifying promotion. The staff were gradually
increased, and my position grew in importance. We discovered
that the declarations of some of the carriers as to the description
of goods loaded by them in the waggons were often
systematically false, and we had to appoint a detective, who
frequently found the real invoices in the waggons to differ entirely
from the declarations given to the Company. It also happened
that when trade was brisk, and waggons were in large demand,
the carriers' men would have a pitched battle for the vehicles; it
was also found that loads made up at country stations, where the
weight could not be checked, were overloaded to a dangerous
Meanwhile the higher authorities were commencing
negotiations for amalgamating the London and Birmingham,
the Grand Junction, and the Manchester and Birmingham
1844. Railways into a line to be called the London and North
Western Railway, under one corporation. The Act of
Parliament confirming the amalgamation was passed on July i6th,
1846, after a long series of jealousies and unworthy squabblings.
Mr. Glyn became the Chairman of the new Company, Robert
Stephenson was made the engineer-in-chief of the amalgamated
Companies in 1844, but the London and North Western Railway
was not in full operation until 1851. The engineering duties
were divided into sections; Mr. R. B. Dockray taking the
Southern Division, Mr. Norris and others the Northern
section. After 1851, Mr. Stephenson had only a consulting fee.
Captain Mark Huish came to London from Liverpool, and was
installed as General Manager; which was announced by a flourish
of trumpets in the form of a circular. His salary was fixed
at ^2,000 per annum ; calling for much comment, as a monstrous
stipend : one writer declaring that no manager could be worth
such a salary.
Mr. Glyn was well entitled to his increased dignity. He
was an enlightened gentleman, and his services towards the
development of railways were afterwards deservedly recognised
by his elevation to the peerage, under the title of Lord Wolverton
in the choice of which name he paid a graceful compliment to the
locomotive centre of the London and Birmingham line, and the
station where her Majesty passed the night on one of her earliest
Captain Huish was a man of stern demeanour in business.
He managed the line from his office, seldom visiting the stations,
but left the details almost wholly in the hands of his responsible
officers. In private life he was a genial gentleman, a warm
friend, and ever ready to promote any enterprise for the
moral and material improvement of the poor. He was possessed
of considerable literary power, and wrote more than one talented
paper on the condition and prospects of the railway. After his
retirement he resided at Bonchurch, where his active benevolence
rendered him generally respected. On his monument in the
Bonchurch graveyard his former connection with the Bengal
native infantry is recorded, but no mention is made of his
distinguished position with the greatest of English railways.
So ended the London and Birmingham Railway Company
as a distinct body ; a happy family of directors and servants,
every one of whom deemed it an honour to be connected with
the development of the new mode of locomotion. The directors
vvere generous and considerate to their officers and servants, and
the managers worthily interpreted the intentions of the directors
towards the rank and file. Censure was applied in a manner to
convince the delinquent of the justice of a rebuke, while judicious
praise stimulated the exertions of good workers. The establish-
ment being within reasonable compass, the subsequent modern
dogmatic and unreasoning discipline was not so necessary as
the prodigious extension of the railway establishment has perhaps
rendered it. The few who can recall the time of which I write
will warmly acknowledge the truth of these remarks.
T TNDER the new organisation the line was divided into districts.
In the locomotive department we had Mr. Edward
Bury for the south, Mr. Ramsbottom and Mr. Trevithic for the
north. In the coaching department Mr. H. P. Bruyeres for the
south, Mr. Norris, superintendent and engineer, for the north.
The goods department was managed by Mr. Mills in the south,
Mr. Eborall, central district, at Birmingham, Mr. Poole at Liver-
pool, and Mr. Salt at Manchester. Mr. Eborall was the father
of Mr. Cornelius Eborall, who became for many years the
esteemed General Manager of the South Eastern Railway, and
whose death, at a comparatively early age, was deeply lamented.
In 1847 it was decided to abolish the system of toll carrying,
and the Railway Company gradually commenced carrying
directly for the public. Pickford & Co. and Chaplin
1847. and Home being appointed agents for the cartage ot
the traffic, and to work the Goods sheds in London.
A monthly Conference of the Goods Managers and the
Agents, presided over by Captain Huish, was instituted, at
which the bitter quarrels of Pickford & Co. and Chaplin and Home
were the most remarkable feature. Their implacable competition
with one another, in seeking the trade, was a source of weak-
ness to the Company ; for the agents would expend as much
strength in getting customers from one another as in drawing
them from railways and other competitive services. Pickford &
Co. withdrew their boats from the canals, and Chaplin and Home,
who were almost new to the goods traffic, matured their position
by means of their old Coaching connection and parcels offices.
Mr. Home threw all his excitable and inexhaustible energy into
the combat; while the three sons of Mr. Baxendale took the
manag-ement of Pickford & Co.'s department with increased
personal feeling and angry opposition.
The North London Line to Fenchurch Street and Poplar
was opened in 1846, and at the sug-g-estion of Mr. Home the
London and North Western Company purchased some Dock
Warehouses at Haydon Square, Aldg-ate, and formed a Goods
Station for the City at that place. I accompanied the first
g"Oods train to Haydon, about four o'clock one fine summer
morning", and the view of all the sleeping- uncurtained rooms of
the squalid houses which the train commanded was, indeed, only
"a sight for a father." The North London Company added to my
other duties, by consent of the London and North Western
Company, the office of goods manager, at a small, but to me
important, salary; at that time Mr. Harry Chubb was the
secretary. He was an able manager, a just and considerate
master, an amiable and refined gentleman, and a sincere
The work of uniting all the railways in the Clearing House,
for the division of the receipts, the making of rates, and a system
of accounts for a universal carrying, with all the consequent
details, was a great labour, but it progressed quickly in the
hands of the able goods managers and accountants to whom it
was entrusted, and the new arrangement approached completion.
Periodical conferences of the officers of all the railways in the
Clearing House were established, and a code of rules for the
business was printed. Had the Companies at the same time
taken in hand the management of the cartage, within a radius of
their respective stations, they would very easily have transferred
to themselves all the men who actually did the work, and by re-
jecting the large firms who absorbed so much of the profit (and
who should have disappeared with the coaches, or confined them-
selves to the canals and suburb carrying), would have saved
enormous cost and many years of dispute and difficulty, yet
unsettled ; while the public would have been drawn nearer to
them, and the question of a reduction in rates would have pressed
less heavily. Cartage at a cost price leaves the railway rate to
be discussed on its merits. Cartage by a contractor, who requires
a large profit, exhausts the elasticity of the railway rate. With-
out the cartage in their own hands, therefore, this beautiful
system of carrying, which conferred such a great benefit on the
trade of the country, was crippled and incomplete. The public
require the movement of their merchandise to be one transaction
from the door to the destination, and any intermediate dealer
is an extra cost and obstruction. Better- far would it have
been for the peace of the Companies to have continued their
carrying on toll, and left the public to the irregular and uncon-
trolled charges of town carriers, great and small.
It may be urged that competition between the carters would
have reduced the charges to the minimum ; but even in the Canal
time these carriers learned how to combine to keep up prices, and
they are still, as then, uncontrolled by Acts of Parliament, by Rail-
way Commissioners, or even by public opinion. I may also state
that the charges for the porterage (that is, the delivery) of
packages conveyed by coach, in the old Road time, were
oppressively exorbitant, and altogether irregular and unchecked.
Much more could be said on this subject, but it is contro-
versial ground, and I desire only to write a sketch of the
experience of a very humble member of the Railway body
during a period somewhat interesting, and that only within
the limits of my own immediate sphere.
Amongst the changes related I had obtained some promotion,
being appointed chief assistant to Mr. Mills, who was now much
G^gdiged with other managers in the formation of the altered
arrangements. I had also the charge of the Camden Station,
trains, brakesmen, etc., with partial responsibility to Mr. Bruyeres,
the superintendent of the southern division. My salary was
advanced, which enabled me to take a wife; an event having
much more to do with the good working of a railway officer than
is sometimes supposed.
During this period of steady duty, there were some " cakes
and ale." The first Officers' Dinner took place at the Euston
Hotel, then newly built. Mr. Kenneth Morison presided, and I
wrote, and sang, a song, which was graciously received. We
had a cricket club on the fields now covered by the Gloucester
Road at Camden. Among the members were Mr. Samuel
Brooks and Mr. Dawson, who whistled duets in sweet fashion ;
amiable Georg^e Coulter, a hard hitter at cricket, who gave me
one to long--field which I caught on my eye ; the two Chapmans ;
the two Bacons, of the Hotel ; Thomas Long- ; J. O. Binger ; and
many others ; of whom I alone remain in the service — and even
my cricketing days are long gone by. Groups of faces of the
young and merry companions of the Stores office, the Goods
office, the Booking and Audit offices at Euston, etc., rise up to my
memory. William Haley, a happy bachelor, with a sweet voice
and exquisite taste; poor Stephen Beadle; bluff Tom Holbein;
Jacob the messenger, droll as Sam Weller ; pompous but good-
hearted Bickley; handsome Tom Barker — la-di-da — who once
thought he gave me a great treat by taking me to see Tom Cribbthe
bruiser, who appeared to me anything but a representative of
muscular beauty ; Brennan ; Sadgrove ; Tyers ; James Hewett ;
Henry Whittle ; Penrucker; Oliver; and others : all talented,
musical, or in some way amusing — lightening the long hours by
many a joke; all long since gone, by death and change, in
foreign lands or otherwise, and succeeded by repeated relays
of others, as the decades have proceeded.
I found time in the early Camden Goods years to attend
lectures, learn mechanics, and study design at Somerset House,
under Mr. Dyce, R.A., and music under Mr. Hullah ; and I had
occasional treats at the theatre in Macready's days, with a chop
afterwards at Paddy Green's entertainment at Evan's Grand
Hotel, where I took down the songs in shorthand, for my friend
William Haley. The money-taker at this establishment had a
curious method of making fourteen-pence one and fourpence, and
sixteen-pence one and sixpence, greatly to his profit. He had a
large hole in his forehead, which, perhaps, caused the mathe-
In my early youth, I had become familiar with the forms of
most of the aristocratic celebrities, by visits to the park, etc. ;
Count D'Orsay, with his magnificent whiskers, his splendid
cabriolet drawn by two horses, with a bright steel bar across
them ; the old Duke of Wellington ; the Fitz Clarences ; Sir
Watkin Wynne, on his stout cob ; Lord Melbourne ; Lord
Forester ; Lord Chesterfield, etc., so that when any of them came
to the Railway, which at first was considered a subject of
curiosity rather than an established institution, I could point them
out. I have seen the great Sir Robert Peel drav/ down a white nig-ht-
cap over his wise head, as he settled himself in a carriage for a
night journey by rail; Lord Brougham borrow paper and
postage-stamps from the booking clerk ; and I had the honour to
help Mr. P. Hardwick, the company's architect, to exhibit to
Queen Adelaide the then new machine for catching the mail bags
on the railway journey. Daniel O'Connel frequently used the
line, and wore a blue cloth cap, which made him look like a large
sized master of a German band.
I also recognised the members of the theatrical profession;
for, when a boy, a friend, who had dealings with the theatres, gave
me opportunities of carrying business communications to them, and
in my visits to Mr. Palmer, of Drury Lane, I often lingered on the
bridge above the stage to listen to the singing of Madame
Malibran, or the declamation of Macready, Helen Fawcet, and
many others. I was in the Strand theatre one morning and heard
W. J. Hammond give Douglas Jerrold an account of a violent
personal encounter on the previous day, between Alfred Bunn —
*' velvet breeches Bunn" — and Macready. The quarrel, which
might have resulted in murder, was through some jealousy of
Macready' s as to Charles Kean. On another occasion, at Covent
Garden, I was swept away from the slips by a ballet retreating
to clear the front. I had once an opportunity to call on Harley,
the great comedian, in Gower Street, but was so overcome by the
comicality of his approach to me, that I had a great difficulty to
tell my business for laughter.
On another occasion, I had to see Macready in his dressing-
room, at the Haymarket. He was studying his part. At the
conclusion of my message he turned tragically to me, and bit out
his thanks, adding that he would send me an order for the gallery.
Much hurt, and indignant, I bowed and retired. I had rare
chances of seeing that beautiful woman, and talented actress and
songstress, Madame Vestris. At the conclusion of a conversation
with Mr. Palmer, she once said, " Ah ! Mr. Palmer, some day you
will see me a faded figure at the corner of a street, begging, and
people will say, 'That is the celebrated Madame Vestris T"
Palmer never had that grief, althoug-h she was extravagant to the
last. While touching on theatrical experiences, I may relate
that in later years, at some private performances at the house of
a friend, I met a modest young gentleman who was then, I think,
engaged in the wine trade. He played " Boots at the Swan "
admirably, and recited some pieces of his own composition, and
in after conversation was strongly recommended by me and others
to adopt the stage as a profession. He afterwards did so, and
with what success the name of J. L. Toole is sufficient to tell.
The lawyers too were known to me. In my holidays, when
quite a boy, I had a habit of attending the Law Courts, to listen to
the trials. Ballantine and Parry, who were then leaders at the
Old Bailey, always on opposite sides, were at once recognised
when they appeared. Many a pleasant time have I passed in
laughing at the witty pleadings and clever cross-examination of
Charles Phillips, afterwards Commissioner in Bankruptcy, and the
sad victim of a misunderstanding on the trial of Courvoisier, for the
murder of Lord William Russell. I happened to be in court at
the trial of a Chartist, whom the Attorney General Jarvis
prosecuted and Kenealy defended, when the latter was rebuked
for his strong language to Mr. Attorney. He used stronger
language on the Tichborne trial years afterwards. I was
present at part of the trial of Hocker, for the murder of his friend
Delarue. Both had been teachers of languages at Hampstead,
and Hocker had been a constant attendant at the Parish Church.
He at one time sought to pay his addresses to the daughter of a
widow lady of my acquaintance, and she commissioned me to see
him and make inquiries as to his respectability. I met Hocker
and found him to be an educated but flighty and conceited youngs
man. For this and other reasons I reported against his eligibility.
A year, probably, afterwards, returning home to Hampstead
one night, I was told that a man had been killed in a field next
the wall of the extensive grounds surrounding Belsize House, now
covered by the houses called Belsize Gardens. The murderer,
as it afterwards appeared, left his victim and ran across the
field to the Swiss Cottage, washing his hands in the snow on the
way; and, after fortifying himself with some brandy, returned to
the spot and assisted to carry the body to the Yorkshire Grey at
Hampstead. Hocker was afterwards cleverly traced to be the
murderer, and offered, as his defence, the unlikely story that he had
accompanied the brother of a young- lady at Hampstead, to
-chastise Delarue for misconduct towards her. The brother, he
averred, struck the fatal blow, but he, Hocker, being- engag-ed to
the young lady, could not betray the brother, or he would be a
traitor. If he suffered for the offence, he would die a martyr.
This defence, the police told me, the counsel rejected as entirely
against the evidence ; but the authorities thought it necessary to
jnake an inquiry' at Hampstead, to discover any love affair that
might have existed, and somehow found the little matter of my
friend the widow lady's daughter, and my inquiry. In
•consequence of which the police called at my lodgings and searched
the lady's house, in a very rough and painful way, confiscating
some of Hooker's letters which they discovered, as great prizes
of detection. The circumstance caused endless excitement and
reports, and a long period of serious annoyances, but the Sheriff
afterwards obtained, in writing, from the prisoner, a complete
statement that he had not the slightest intention to allude in the
most remote degree to my young friend.
Captain Moorsom became Admiral Moorsom, and Chairman
of the Chester and Holyhead Railway; J. O. Binger
General Manager of that Railway, and Robert Mansell, brother
•of Dean Mansell, the Secretary. The line was afterwards
.amalgamated with the London and North Western, when Mr.
Binger was appointed superintendent of the Chester and
Holyhead district, and, Mr. Chubb having retired, Mr. Mansell
came to the North London Line, which was always mainly the
property of the London and North Western Company. The
Admiral succeeded to the chair of the London and North
Western Board in 1861, after the retirement of the Marquis of
•Chandos. Mr. Glyn had retired in 1853, and had been succeeded
first by General Anson and then by the Marquis of Chandos.
This nobleman had made his name heroic by cutting off the
entail of his father's estate, to pay the Duke's creditors, and had
to devote his energies to work, to sustain the consequences.
Previous to his appointment he was inspecting the departments
of the railway and called at Mr, Bruyeres' office. Poor Watts,
a clerk, who was somewhat impressed with his own official
dig-nity, asked his lordship what he wanted -" a situation ? If so,
there are no vacancies. Besides, you're too short." The
Marquis replied, "Then I will leave my card" "Oh, your card.
Very well." But when Watts read the card he fell down and
worshipped, and never smiled again.
Old Mr. Creed, the Secretary, retired in September, 1848,
and was succeeded by Mr. C. E. Stewart.
Mr. Stewart had seen foreig^n service in the civil department
of Government, and was a g-entleman eminently qualified for his
new position. During- my communication with him he received an
anonymous letter charging me with purloining the Company's
property. He sent for me and bade me read it, and then asked
if I knew how he intended to dispose of it — immediately putting it
into the fire. Captain Huish entered at the moment, and, on
being told the circumstances, requested me if I could find the
author, to take legal proceedings, and the Company would bear
the expense. He said it would doubtless be found to have been
sent by some discharged man : which turned out to be the case.
The Secretary's duty at this time was less classified from the
General Manager's than after Mr. Cawkwell's period, and Mr.
Stewart received applications for railway evidence in parliament
and elsewhere. He did me the honour to nominate me as L. &
N. W. witness in a great number of cases — service which was
often very remunerative and much missed by me in after days,
having given evidence in every court of judicature, from the House
of Lords to the Coroner's Inquest. In later years Mr. Stewart
nominated me for the post of Agent to the Great Indian
Peninsular Railway, in Bombay, at £3,000 per annum, which \
should have obtained but for Captain Sherrard Osborne, who
brought greater interest in his favour at the last moment.
Mr. Edward Bury's four-wheeled engines had been the subject
of much controversy in the railway newspapers. They were
superior to any previously used, but were not strong enough for
the traffic; he retired in March, '47. He had been of great
service to the Company, not only in his own department.
He was succeeded by Mr. McConnell, a strong and determined
man of the rough sort. By -the aid of Mr. Madigan of the
Permanent Way Department, and others, he successfully resisted
a strike of the engine-drivers. The guards who rode on the
engine-plate, to direct the new men, received printed certificates
of special service during this serious difficulty.
Mr. McConnell's "Bloomers," 7-6 fly-wheel, and six-wheeled
coupled engines, were a great success and made his name. He
was the author of many locomotive improvements and patents,
which brought him wealth, and he afterwards retired to Aylesbury,
became a member of the County Bench of magistrates, and sat,
in that capacity, with Disraeli. I received many acts of
hospitable courtesy at his hands, as well as offers of appointments
on foreign railways.
In Mr. Stewart's Secretaryship before Captain Huish retired,
Mr. Edward Watkin became an under Secretary. He took an
active part in all the important transactions of the Company, and
exhibited talent of no ordinary kind. Had he remained he
would doubtless have succeeded to the highest position, but he
sought "pastures new," and is now Sir Edward Watkin, Bart.
Under his direction I was commissioned to contest the re-election
of some of the members of the Parochial Board of the St. Pancras
Parish — that body having behaved in an arbitrary manner to the
Company. We were defeated in the first contest, but when the new
Metropolitan Management Act came into force, a new Board
of respectable and in many cases distinguished men were elected
and took their seats under the chairmanship of the Rev. Thomas
Dale, Vicar of the Parish. I represented the Company, and
added to my experience as Chairman of the Assessment Rate
and Appeal Committee.
While the years were gliding by and the everlasting
principles of change and renewal were operating on the railway,
as in all things, the traffic increased, and branch lines and
amalgamations were added to the L. & N. W. Company. The
stations and appliances became too small — were always, in fact,
behind the requirements, and officers and servants were too
frequently condemned and removed, instead of the real remedy
of suitable enlargement being promptly applied. The coal
grew, from small beginnings, into a heavy traffic. When the Clay
Cross Company first proposed to send coals by rail to London, it is
said that Mr. Bruyeres would not receive it from the Midland
Company, at Rugby, unless it were restricted to a few wagon
loads at a time, covered carefully with tarpaulins — a restriction
that speedily gave way. The first consignment of Clay Cross coal
by rail to London was brought to Kilburn Station in July 1845,
and was sold by Mr. Baker, a gentleman still in the employment
of the Clay Cross Company. The Ince Hall Coal was shortly
afterwards sent by Messrs. Lee and Jerdein. The cattle traffic
necessitated the erection of a large cattle station at Camden.
The animals, who always, in their excitement, ran the wrong way,
often escaped on to the main line and charged the trains, getting,
of course, the worst of such encounters. The cattle landing was
ultimately removed to the Maiden Lane Station, which reduced,
but never entirely stopped, such casualties. These were not
confined to bullocks from the cattle pens. A sharp watchman, in
a dimly lighted goods shed at Camden, once found a bear, which
had escaped from Euston, crouching against a waggon, and,
taking it for a thief, he pounced upon it, but retreated in dismay,
unhurt. A hue-and-cry was raised, and poor Bruin was captured,
after a spirited chase. At another time a tiger in a case fell from
a load on to the railway. The fall smashed the case, and the
tiger trotted along the line. Some soldiers were obtained from
a neighbouring barrack and went in pursuit. They found that
the signalman had climbed a telegraph post to get out of the way,
but on nearing the tiger they discovered that they had marched
without ammunition, and the tiger fell to the gun of a gentleman
who lived near the spot. A case containing a crocodile similarly
fell from a train, and an inspector, walking the line, thought he
was nearing a man run over, but he speedily went back for
assistance, on arriving at the object of his attention.
_______ CHAPTER VII.
TN August, 1846, Mr. Glyn cautioned the proprietors as to
the probable decrease in the value of the property, and in
February, 1847, a reduction of the dividend was declared for the
last half of 1846. Dissatisfaction ensued, which continued until
185 1, when Mr. Richard Moon was elected a Director. This
gentleman immediately took a very active part in the affairs ot
the Company, and was appointed, with two other Directors, to
examine the whole working of the establishment. The depart-
ments were at this time imperfectly controlled by head quarters.
Different systems prevailed in the Districts, according to the
differing views of the Managers and Superintendents. The
Goods Managers made their own rates. The purchase of stores
was extravagantly conducted, and the sale of old materials was
open to irregularities and dishonesty. The check departments
were insufficient, and the discipline of the staff was loose ; while
passes for free travelling were issued by all departments and were
shamefully abused. Matters which appeared insignificant,
compared with the principal transactions of the Company, yet
involving the expenditure of large sums of m.oney, were left
entirely in the hands of officers in receipt of small salaries : and
some of them proved unworthy of their trust. In short, the then
unusually large establishment appeared incapable of effective
management by ordinary methods. Yet Mr. Moon brought to
the task he and his colleagues had undertaken the simple maxims
of an industrious and vigilant merchant. By expanding them to
the magnitude of the concern, he believed that he could make it
thoroughly well governed and completely disciplined. He
ultimately succeeded, after many years of untiring labour, amidst
opposition of every kind; and the voluminous programme
of reforms which he registered during the searching investigation
he had made was finally completed by the removal of the
Agents from the possession of the London Goods Stations, ten
De mortuis nil nisi homwi is not the rule of the historia,n. It
is of the dead he speaks freely ; of the living- he is silent. 1 ask
for an exception in the case of Mr. Moon, in describing- him as a
man of grave aspect, with a pleasant smile, enhanced by its
rarity ; always approachable to those of his officers in whom he
believed. He had a single eye for the Company's interest, an
insatiable capacity for details, and a belief in a personal
examination of every person and place on whom or which a
decision was necessary. After he became Chairman, his
unadorned addresses to the proprietors were like familiar
conversations between the head of a firm and his partners. Such
a reformer was inevitably unpopular. Many of the Directors,
and more of the officers, from the Manager downwards, decried
his recommendations and opposed him. He was condemned as
mean, self-seeking, and petty in his views — partial in his appoint-
ment of officers — and ungrateful for earnest services — unjust to
old servants, and capricious and conceited of his own views. I
believe I was the first man who worked heartily with him, and, so
far as could be consistent with the difference of our rank, a mutual
friendship was soon established between us. For many years, no
week passed without our exchanging written communications. Mr.
Moon was alike indifferent to good or evil repute, and tenaciously
pursued the even tenor of his way, until, as I have said, he carried
all his points in time. Change in the Directorate, and the
manifestly good results of his measures, brought him supporters.
The Marquis of Chandos retired, and Admiral Moorsom
succeeded to the Chairmanship. In 1861 the latter died,
and Mr. Moon was appointed to the office. From this date
commenced that steady course of improvement and enlightened
progress which has enabled the Railway to take its place as one
of the most complete organisations in the world, and the leading
line of this kingdom. The perfect supervision of every depart-
ment of the establishment by Committees of Directors, the careful
choice of managers and staff, the soundness of the plant, the
enterprising and wise expenditure to widen and extend the line to
meet the increasing traffic, the constant additions to the comforts
and safety of travelling — are all unsurpassed, if in any way
equalled, in this or any other country ; while not the least is to
be commended the liberal treatment of the officers and staff in
providing- for their retirement and old age. Before this
consummation could be approached, Mr. Moon had many years
of active service and constant labour, many disappointments, and
much to call forth and exercise his indomitable courage and
In the Stores Department Mr. Chapman was removed, and
the system of purchase entirely altered. In the Goods Mr.
Eborall died and was replaced by Mr. Broughton. Mr'
Braithwaite Poole, of Liverpool, and Mr. Salt, of Manchester, left
the service. Mr. Poole had been made the first Chief Goods
Manager by Captain Huish. He was an accomplished and
clever man, and a delightful social companion. He wrote some
useful compilations for railway work, and was highly appreciated
at the Railway Clearing House Committees ; but he was far too
ambitious, and too indifferent to the details of his department, to
suit the ideas of the Chairman. Some blot was discovered in Mr.
Salt's management, in which his assistant, Mr. Kay, was involved,
but the latter speedily regained the confidence of his superiors.
He was appointed temporarily to manage part of the goods of the
Manchester District, and Mr. Noden was put over another part.
Mr. Mills was removed to Euston and succeeded Mr. Poole as
<^hief Goods Manager. I succeeded to his district ; Mr. Huntley
to Wolverhampton. We were thus a new Goods Conference,
under the chairmanship of Mr. Mills ; Mr. Broughton acting as
Secretary. A General Conference of all the officers.
Superintendents of the Coaching Department and Goods
Managers, was also formed, under the chairmanship of the
As time sped, and Mr. Moon had almost completed his
programme of reforms, the last item, namely, the removal of
the Agents from the shed work of the London stations, came to
the front. Captain Huish had resigned, and Mr. Cawkwell, from
the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway, was appointed General
Manager; but he and some of the Directors did not sym.pathise
with this important change. Mr. Charles Mason, who had
joined the Company as chief Goods Manager on the
superannuation of Mr. Mills, had scarcely yet grasped his
department. Messrs. Pickford and Co., and Messrs. Chaplin and
Home were, of course, bitterly opposed to their removal from
the stations, and they had many staunch friends at the Board.
Much discussion ensued, but the Chairman persevered; and,
finally, I consummated my many reports on the subject by a
statement at the Board. I was exposed to a severe cross-
examination for some hours, resulting in a favourable vote and
many unexpected compliments on the manner in which I had
sustained the ordeal. Mr. Home, who had implied that he
should abide by the decision of the Directors, and either hoped
for a different result or thought Pickford and Co. would resist,
became furious. He applied for an injunction, and the case was
tried, Sir Hugh Cairns advocating the Company's case. The
injunction was refused, and from that time Mr. Home pursued
me with unrelenting persecution. He left nothing undone, no
vituperation unsaid, to ruin me with the Directors and the
The Goods establishment in London was transferred to the
Company, giving me nights and days of labour and anxiety ; the
Chairman alone in any way helping me with advice, assistance
The general organisation was soon brought into form,
although Pickford & Co. carried away nearly all the best men.
I had to find an accountant from the staff of Chaplin and Home.
He succumbed to the numberless obstructions of the agents, who
had ample means of active annoyance in the cartage accounts.
The invoice tissue copies were often mysteriously destroyed or
missing, and it became evident that a stronger man should take
the work in hand. Mr. Ephraim Wood, from the Audit Office,
at Euston, was chosen, and, after many months of skilful industry
and determination, brought the accounts to a balance, and
triumphantly placed this part of the work in perfect order. He
received deserved promotions for his exertions.
In looking for a chief assistant I displeased Mr. Reay, who
was then the chief of the Audit Office, by endeavouring to obtain
Mr. Houghton for the appointment. He was willing to come,
but Mr. Reay valued his assistance, and I at length accepted Mr.
Stewart's nominee, Mr. Briscoe, who had been a soldier in the
celebrated charge of the Light Brigade at Balaclava. He was
an able and active man, and was soon removed to a more
After the removal of the agents, a few years of tolerably
regular work ensued, always accompanied by Mr. Home's
never ceasing attacks.
pRIOR to these events., as previously stated, Mr. Mills v^as
placed on the retired list. I had the best authority for
hoping- that I should succeed him, but the completion of the work
at Camden tied me to that place, and I lost the chance. Mr.
Reay, of the Audit Office, wsls proposed, but Mr. Charles Mason,
who had competed for the general managership, was ultimately
chosen. He came from the Birkenhead Railway, and was a
shrewd and indefatigable man of business, after the Chairman's
own heart ; a disciplinarian, but ever considerate to those under
him ; sharp and decided with real offenders, but reluctant to find
fault, and desirous of being friendly and cheery with his
subordinates, which gave force to deserved rebukes.
The business grew, until it was evident that the goods
stations in London were too small for the traffic. Space was
purchased near Broad Street for a large City Station. While
Broad Street Station was preparing, a proposition arose for the
erection of a large shed at Camden, in which to treat the goods
on an altered principle — a system which no one who knows the
details of the London work would approve. I could not succeed
in convincing the Directors and the Management that the plan
would certainly fail. I intimated that the scheme should wait
until Broad Street Depot became completed, and the effect upon
Camden should be ascertained. I was told that Broad Street
would take little of the traffic from Camden. The opening of the
City Station proved the correctness of my representations.
Whether it was considered that I should not give the new
method fair play, or that Mr. Home's incessant reports and
violent tirades became intolerable, I do not know; but it was
decided that a gentleman from Manchester, who was said to
understand the proposed mode of working, should carry out the
change. I had visited Manchester with Mr. Mason, but could find
no system in operation with miscellaneous goods such as
those in London. When the shed was finished Mr. Greenish was
appointed, and I was removed to Euston, and was appointed to
take charg-e of an enlarged southern district of the Goods
Department, extending- from Kensing-ton to near Stafford and
Birmingham, including the branch lines intervening, and after a
short period, with the further charge of opening the Company's
new stations at Leicester and Derby, and the new development
. of the Midland Collieries, and the Ashby-de-la-Zouch Railway,
with the outlying agencies at Leicester, Newark, Gloucester,
Cheltenham, Worcester and Southampton.
Meanwhile the new system was commenced, and, as I had
predicted, it threw the provincial work into such confusion, that
in a few days its failure had to be admitted and the old method
My office at Euston being considered insufficiently central
for my new work, Mr. Cawkwell informed me that I should
remove to Rugby. To leave London was a severe trial to me."
I left my friends and the pleasant associations of many years. I
ceased to be a member of the Clearing House Goods Conference,
and lost much of my position with Mr. Mason, whom, as I have
said, I had assisted to manage the line during Mr. Cawkwell's
During the absence of Mr. Cawkwell through ill health Mr.
Mason considered it necessary to give me assistance, in order
that I might aid him in negotiations with other Companies,
increased duties, parliamentary and others, at Euston, and as no
eligible person on the line appeared available, I was instructed to
find a suitable Railway man elsewhere. I at first selected Mr.
John Noble of the Clearing House. The terms I offered were
considered insufficient by Mr. Noble. He afterwards took
service with the Midland Company, and ultimately became the
General Manager of that line. I next appointed Mr. Lambert ot
the Great Eastern. He closed with my proposals, and assisted me
as previously recorded, first in the district at Northampton and
afterwards in charge of the London Stations. On Mr. Cawkwell's
return sometime afterwards, the arrangement for my removal
to Rugby and Mr. Greenish to Camden, no provision for Mr.
Lambert appeared to have been considered, and, on enquiry as to
what duties he was to fulfil under the change, he was ordered to
take a subordinate appointment under Mr. Greenish, which,
considering- that the country portion of the division was to be
taken away with me, was a fall to Mr. Lambert. He seemed to
think he had been brought away from the Great Eastern under
a misrepresentation, and, as I felt personally concerned in the
good faith towards him, I introduced him to Mr. Grant, the
General Goods Manag-er of the Great Western, who, on my
representation of his high qualities, immediately engaged him.
The change was fortunate for Mr. Lambert, who subsequently
succeeded Mr. Grant, on that gentleman's lamented death, and in
later times obtained the position of General Manager of the
Great Western Railway. Mr. Grant was profuse in his thanks
to me on several occasions as to the benefit I brought to his
Company by the transfer of Mr. Lambert.
I had now to resign my commission as Captain in the
Middlesex Artillery Volunteers, of which corps the Duke ot
Buckingham was Colonel. My weekly attendance at the Coal
Exchange was to continue, and was a little relief to my exile.
Occasional kindness from Mr. Mason and the chairman also
consoled me. The circumstances of the case rendered them
powerless to prevent my removal, but did not lose me their
confidence. I started to take possession of my duties at
Rugby one Sunday night, but on reaching Euston I was so heart-
sick and unhappy that I returned to my home in town and went
the next morning. The new work and the fresh air of the
country soon restored my spirits, and I settled down in the
position as a permanent thing for the rest of my service.
Advance in salary and frequent recognition of work
conscientiously done helped me to forget disappointments, and,
as I considered, my unjust treatment.
Additions in these years were made to the Goods Conference.
Mr. D. Parsons, Mr. Carter, Mr. Bradshaw, and occasionally Mr.
George Findlay, from South Wales, became members; Mr.
Mason, and, in his absence, myself, presiding. In time the
Company purchased the South Wales line, and, with it, Mr.
Findlay was transferred to the London and North Western
service. Ultimately he came to London and was made General
Goods Manager, Mr. Mason taking the post of Assistant General
Manager. Mr. Home found his match in Mr. Findlay. The
former had been in the habit of visiting- Euston, carrying in his
hands his hat, and in his pockets a confusion of papers. He
would call at one office and exclaim
"Ah, Manager No. i Out ;
Gone fishing, no doubt I "
— at another and say,
" Of course. Manager No, 2
Gone fishing also ! "
— at another and say,
" Manager Mason gone to look after
His cracked stones ! "
But he had occasion to abandon that kind of conduct with
Mr. Findlay, who subdued him very considerably in a little time ;
although he never ceased to rage, and Mr. Greenish fared as
badly with him a I had done. When very ill Mr. Home rose
from his sick-bed and came to the conference, and Mr. Findlay
addressed to him some congratulatory words as to his returning
health. He replied with angry remarks, condemning all the
officers wholesale. Soon afterwards his restless and wearied
spirit found the common fate of us all, and his place knew him
no more. He did good service during his fretful hour on the stage
of life, and his eccentricities, on the whole, provoked more smiles
About this time Mr. Robert Savill, the Assistant Secretary,
was superannuated. He had been with the London and Bir-
mingham portion of the line from the formation of the Company,
and was universally esteemed by the staff and the public. In
this year of the Queen's Jubilee  he is still alive and
vigorous, and continues his useful life in the sphere in which he
moves, as a private gentleman.
Mr. Reay, of the Audit Office, became Secretary, vice
Mr. Stewart, who retired and soon after died. Mr. Coldwell
succeeded Mr. Reay in the Audit Department, and died after a
comparatively short enjoyment of his position ; Mr. Partington
In the past decade there had been still occasional '* Cakes
and Ale." In the Marquis of Chandos's reign he invited a
number of Directors and Officers, and their wives, to a fete at his
country residence, and we enjoyed boating and feasting and the
hospitable society of the Marquis and Marchioness. On another
occasion I accompanied my volunteer regiment to the Battle of
Stowe. We were quartered with the Yeomanry Cavalry. My
Company was told off to the fortress in the grounds, and I am
afraid that if our guns had been shotted we should have slain
many of our friends. The Monthly Conference always dined
together and enjoyed many hours of pleasant intercourse. Of
such meetings Mr. Dudley Parsons was the leading spirit. At the
Officers' meetings, during Captain Huish's time at Birmingham,
we had always a formal meal after the work. At one of these
gatherings we bade farewell to Mr. Slater, of the Carriage
Department, who resigned, on which occasion I wrote an
impromptu song, and had the assurance to sing it. At another of
these meetings Mr. Cawkwell changed chairs with Captain Huish,
on the latter's retirement. Then, the retirement of any of the
Managers was always celebrated by a testimonial, present and
a dinner; Dudley Parsons, the provider and king of the feast.
The vacancies by death and change had been replaced by
Mr. David Taylor at Liverpool, Mr. Farr at Manchester, Mr.
John Mason at Birmingham, and others. Districts were altered
and extended, and other members were added to the conference.
The monthly social meetings were merged into an annual
dinner, which came off at some place away from town — the
Crystal Palace, Richmond, Malvern, Windermere, Sec, under my
secretaryship, after Mr. Parsons left the service. All these
occasions were pleasant breaks in our official toil.
The sudden death of Mr. Charles Mason was a shock to us
all, and extinguished in me any remaining hope of further
promotion in the service. Besides which, in him I lost a true and
real personal friend. Many a happy evening I can recall, spent
with him in star-watching, with his powerful telescope, or with the
Royal Astronomical Society, of which he was a fellow ; many a
day's shooting in the holidays, and many hours of pleasant work
in deciding knotty questions relating to the business of the line,
or in drawing up reports. After Mr. Mason's death, Mr. George
Findlay was appointed Assistant General Manager, and I began
to revive a little hope that the office of Chief Goods Manager
might fall to me. It became apparent, however, that Mr. Thomas
Kay was nominated. While the matter was under discussion,
Mr. Kay generously proposed to me to ask the Directors to
divide the appointment into two, North and South. The pro-
posal was made, but rejected, and Mr. Kay succeeded to the
appointment ; for a time he remained at Manchester, but
afterwards came to London.
Without any feeling of envy for Mr. Kay, whose worthy and
honest character I greatly admired, I felt the disappointment
keenly. It was no reflection on me to be displaced by such a man
as Mr. Mason or Mr, Findlay, but, as compared with Mr. Kay,
I was the older servant and slightly the senior manager. I had
greater experience, both in the management of a large
establishment and in the highest management of the concern,
and was better acquainted with the general affairs of the Company.
I may add, without egotism, that I was better educated. The
Duke of Buckingham, from whom I had always received the most
kindly recognition, meeting me at this time, offered me some
consoling remarks, saying he supposed it was " a descent of the
Normans." Some pleasant words from the Chairman and a
little time, with the reflection that the Directors had a right
to set up or put down whomsoever they pleased, brought me
back to my usual cheerful condition of mind, and I gave to
Mr. Kay, my cordial and loyal co-operation, *'as in duty bound."
He was afterwards assisted by the appointment of Mr. Houghton
to the post of Assistant Goods Manager.
My residence in Warwickshire obtained for me many new
friends, among them Mr. Newdegate, M.P., to whom I rendered a
little service in regard to his estate. He placed me on the free
list of his newspaper, and never ceased to treat me with marked
consideration until his death. My few leisure hours were spent in
the delights of my large garden, or in advocating in the local
press some contested improvements in the affairs of the place,
under a nom de plume which became well known. The beauty of
the country through which I travelled in my daily rounds, at all
seasons gave me intense enjoyment, and made me conscious that
there was something to see in the world besides the rough and
tumble excitement of railway work. I found amusement in the
characters of traders with whom I had to deal, and food
or observation in the social cliques and parties of the towns
where I transacted business. I began to think myself too old for
any further notice by my railway superiors. I thought my little
career had culminated, and was content and happy during some
very pleasant years.
TN the early part ot the year 1877, I was privately informed
that the original design of taking over the Agency of Messrs.
Chaplin and Home was to be consummated. "When the idea
was first entertained, during Mr, Charles Mason's Goods
Managership, and when my difficulties with Mr. Home were in
full force, I had been named for the future management of this
work. I now thought I might still be considered qualified for
the post. The hope gave me new life. In the end, I received
the appointment, and came to London to commence one of the most
arduous undertakings that had hitherto fallen to my lot. I found
the town offices in a very confused and irregular condition, as
regards charges, check, and discipline. The cartage irregularly
and expensively worked, and the canvassing department
unsystematic. Five or six years of incessant labour and attention
absorbed the offices into the railway method of audit and
supervision. The cartage and canvassing were organised into
districts. New premises in several parts of London were opened,
and the old offices improved. The Agency was altogether made
to cover the Metropolis with useful means of communication by
the public with the Company's main establishment, and advertised
the London and North Western Railway more prominently than
it had ever been previously. The arrangements in degree
contributed to the great popularity which has lately marked the
progress of the railway, and helped to establish it as the
acknowledged leader of the British rsiilways. I attribute the
success of these efforts mainly to the freedom of action kindly
accorded to me during the early years of the change. I had not
the usual, and, as a rule, necessary interference with the proceedings.
I carried out my views, and reported the results to the General
Manager and the Committee, formed for the purpose, under the
Chairman of the Company, I understood the business, and
enjoyed the confidence of my superiors; and it was a labor of
love in the city I understood best, and which was the place in all
the world I most valued. My banishment had been indeed to me
an exile, and I may be pardoned a little feeling of triumph at
returning to the scene of my severe persecution in a position of
trust and command. Ten years have rapidly past, and in the
course of that time the Agency has become welded into the
Company's establishment, and duly subjected to the departments
and regulations of the railv^ay. The saving in the expenses paid
off the purchase money in the first three years, and the progress
has been satisfactorily continued up to the present time;
notwithstanding many circumstances adverse to the parcels
trade. The whole of the London Stations, during recent years,
have been added to my charge, in all composing a staff of
nearly three thousand hands, and many hundreds of horses.
The London places for the reception of goods and parcels
and for other conveniences of the public are as follows, viz. : —
NUMBER OF GOQDS STATIONS, OFFICES, ^c.
Goods Stations 5
Outlying Stations, Goods and Coal 22
Coal Depots only 3
Town Offices 33
London and North Western Stations,
Parcel Offices 10
Do. Universal Offices,
Goods and Parcels 5
North London Stations, Parcels Offices ... 18
Do. Universal Offices, Goods
and Parcels 8
West London Stations, Parcels Offices ... 4
Pickford and Companys' Goods and
Parcels Offices 25
Auxiliary do 15
I am now fulfilling- the final years of my service, and while I
apologise for this somewhat self laudatory record of to me the
most enjoyable part of my career, I venture to hope for a belief in
the minds of my employers that I have executed my trust.
While I have been occupied with trade and shipping —
customs and bills of lading — warehouses — barges — carts and
horses — sales — markets — exhibitions and theatrical parties and
ships crews, and so dealing with all sorts and conditions of men in
this vast Metropolis, what of the line ? Many writers have told the
tale of its wondrous advancement. Science has been busy with
the Engines, the Signals, and the Brakes, taste and comfort in
the Carriage have occupied the best eff"orts of the Mechanic and
Upholsterer — and the perfection in travelling has culminated in
the Royal and other trains. Long may the goodly work continue,
and the prosperity of the dear old country render it necessary
when my humble pen shall have lost its cunning, and my little
share of duty as one of the pioneers of the great invention shall
be forgotten in the dust.
HOURS OF DEPARTURE.
COMMENCING 29th OCTOBER, 1837.
FIRST TRAIN - - - 8 o'Cloch A.M.
SECOND do. - - - 10 Clock A.M.
THIRD do. - - - 2 o'Cfocyf; P.M.
FOURTH do. - - - 5 o'Cfocyfc P.M.
FIRST TRAIN - - - 8 o'Clock A.M.
SECOND do. - - - 10 o'Cfoc^ A.M.
yff/i?D Jo. - - - 2 o'Cfoofc P.M.
FOURTH do. - - - 7 o'clock P.M.
Every Monday Morning:, the First Train from
Tring will leave at Seven, instead of Eight.
London and Tring:
FIRST TRAIN - - ^ pa^-t 9 o'Clock A.M.
SECOND do. - - i past 1 o'Clock P.M.
yff/fii) do. - - - 5 o'clock P.M.
OLD LETTERS & JOURNALS,
My Dear Tubnbull,
The story I told to your wife a few evenings ago is
perfectly correct, but if you wish to have it in detail, it is as
follows : —
My father's family hailed from a Scottish estate, which had
been in their possession for 26 generations. My father went into
trade as a London merchant, but died at the early age of 38,
leaving my mother with three children — two sisters and myself, the
youngest born. In an evil hour she married again, and her second
husband soon scattered her little stock of money, and was thrown
into Whitecross prison for debt. At this place he met with a
Mr. Gardener, who, for some purpose, wished to adopt a little
boy of my age, and some bargain was made between them about
myself. Some months after my stepfather had left the prison I
had been put to bed one night, when Mr. Gardener came for
me. I was dressed and taken away by him in the "dickey" of a
four-horse coach to a house near New Cross, then quite in the
country, where in an upper room a lady was lyingupon abed. As we
entered she rose and took me on her knee, called me darling and
caressed me. My age was probably about five years at this
time. In a day or two I was sent to a neighbouring preparatory
school. I fretted a little for my mother, but on the whole I was toler-
ably happy. After a few months stay, I was permitted to go home
and see my family. I had been told that in future I should be
called Edward Gardener, and the lady and g-entleman my mamma
and papa. Of course I gave a very satisfactory account of my
quarters at New Cross. My mother was satisfied, and then I
returned to my adopted parents. In a few months I left the school,
and Mr. and Mrs. Gardener appeared to g-et into difficulties. A
Major Haswell, the lady's father, had occasionally visited the
house. The old gentleman took some notice of me, and would
often walk up and down the room and teach me my tables. In
\iis visits now, however, he always appeared very angry. After
a while they ceased, and the family appeared approaching
starvation. For weeks together we had an insufficiency of food,
faring almost exclusively on potatoes and red herrings. My
clothing was neglected and I went without shoes. I was
frequently beaten by the lady and frightened by figures dressed
up in the garden, while the man would sometimes give me port
wine until I was ill. He would frequently swear and teach me
filthy songs. Matters grew worse, and finally the lady went away.
One night Gardener and two men accompanied by a boy older
than myself came to the house. They heaped up a large fire,
brought up a quantity of port wine on a tray, and sat up all night
drinking until they were all drunk, including the boy, who became
very sick. Towards five or six o'clock in the morning the men
and the boy went away and Gardener went to bed. Shortly
afterwards a knock came at the door, and he bade me speak out
of the window to the man and say there was nobody in the
house except myself, which I did. The man at the door replied
" that no one would have left a child in a house alone, and that
what I said was a lie." He persisted, and at length Gardener
arose and admitted him. He proved to be an officer of some
kind, and immediately arrested Gardener, leaving me in the house
alone. The house looked over a dreary waste of level fields — the
weather was very boisterous, and the banging of the doors and
roaring of the wind acting upon nerves reduced by bad living
and a sleepless night nearly destroyed my senses during the
long day, during which I tasted no food. In the evening, two
women, formerly servants in the house, came to me. One left
immediately, the other remained and insisted upon my g"oing- to
bed. I do not think I slept, and after some hours I heard
repeated knocking at the door of the house. While I was
dressing- to go down to the door the remaining woman staggered
into my room, and fell prone in a complete state of drunkenness.
I admitted the knocker, who was Major Haswell. I do not know
what was done, but I was again put to bed, and the next day there
was a consultation between the Major and a brother of Mr.
Gardener, evidently about the disposal of my poor little self. It
was found that my stepfather had removed from his late place of
residence and could not be found, and it was decided that I should
be sent to the workhouse. Mrs. Gardener returned to the house
where she was met by her husband, who appeared in an officer's
uniform; meanwhile most of the goods in the house were
removed. During the few days that matters were in this miser-
able condition, an old woman, formerly a servant in the house,
seemed to take a great interest in me, and questioned me as to what
relations I had and where they lived. I happened to remember
the address of an aunt, to whom she immediately sent, which
resulted in my mother being informed of the probability of my
becoming an inmate of the workhouse. She immediately came
to me, and I shall never forget the sensation of joy at seeing her
enter the door. So ended the episode, which I give to you as it
occurred, leaving to your imagination to guess the why and
wherefore of the whole matter, which has always been beyond
me entirely. I have left out a thousand little particulars of the
period, which I will tell you when next we meet over the walnuts
and the wine —
Camden Station, 27M May, 1852.
The haste, the noise, the aager, the heap of papers, the
earnest words of command, attendant on the earning of my daily
bread, have past over somewhat earlier than usual to-day,
and I turn with refreshing pleasure to the clear page on
which I have determined to mark a few words, of my
usual free and easy style, to my dear brother *Reuben. If my
thoughts could but be daguerreotyped, how often you would
have a long- epistle. You would have my notions of
everything I see and hear, and, instead of blowing me up for my
silence, you would send me a piteous appeal to desist. Strange
to say, nothing new or remarkable comes within my ken, but
straight I set it down that I will send you a description of it, and
then time flies and I never do it, yet I dream the same again, often
and often. What spell have you cast over me .? Is it my vanity you
flatter? or is it that I feel certain I may be quite unrestrained to
you ? that if, in the frolicsome gambols of my mind, the slender
garment of prudence which it wears, falls on one side and
reveals some evil beneath, you will not be severe in your criticism.
2nd June, 1852. — I was called away from the above, as I
often am when I intend to write to you.
We have Whitsuntide fair at Chalk Farm. What an awful
celebration of the coming of the Holy Ghost. The poor ignorant
slaves of society go through the process of " enjoying themselves"
on these occasions ; that is, they drink bad beer by the gallon,
and struggle in crowds to get it from the ' bar, ' as though life and
death were at stake; they swing in perilous machines till they
scream with nausea, and think it fine fun when the man wont
*' stop the ship," and relieve some agonised wretch. They dance
in close rooms on perhaps six square inches of space, and fight
on the same extent of ground. Smoke also they do, like funnels.
Husbands and wives enter freely into these delights, dragging
their poor little ones through it all. Old women refresh their aged
bodies in the same way, and forget that they are old : one fell out
of a swing yesterday and cut her eye out — poor old creature I
Young men and maidens go into the pleasureable vortex, like mad ;
and oh, for the maidens ! Many a misery dates its commencement
from the visit to the fair. Little boys, too — they do enjoy the fair
— yea, without the beer or the dancing ; they may go to the extent
of a fight, now and then, but they principally feed on the clowns
at the shows — that is their weakness. They admire the whitened
degraded wretch twisting- his body and thrusting out his poor
*A nick name in allusion to Reuben and Joseph in Scripture
tong-ue for sixpence a day, and think how hard they will try to
imitate him when they go home to their dirty miserable domiciles.
Could you accompany the little ragged fellows to their resting
places, you would find them going through the performance
on their beds, or dreaming of the glorious fair in that sleep which
blesses youth under all circumstances. Could you see them in
the park the next day you would find them throwing somersaults
and studying to be clowns. What is the age about, that some
better object of ambition is not placed before them. Further
on in life we shall find these boys very bad men, and, as this sort
of character is much on the increase among us, is it not probable
that in time they will give the nation a strong tinge of their colour ?
We are making way for their operations with such propositions as
universal suffrage, &c. What will be the end of it all ? I wish I
could be quite sure that I have no responsibility in the matter. I
am only a poor clerk ; surely it is a small speck of blame that
will fall to my share when the Nation is judged! * * *
I dined at the Freemasons' Tavern a short time since,
along with the Licensed Wittlers. The dinner was hot and
excellent, and the wine good, — so were the songs. Sir Henry
Meux made a speech. I sipped my wine, and enjoyed the noisy
scene. The sight was like some painting I have seen ; some
Roman or Grecian banquet. If I were learned I would quote
the subject in Greek or Latin, and tell you the artist's name.
The room where we dined is very large and handsomely
decorated, and is capable of accommodating about four
hundred people. The good feeling and the wine had a
happy effect on my state of mind, and I dreamed pleasantly of
the last time I was in that place. The tables for the moment
disappeared, sweet music filled the air of the ball room, and
youth and beauty shone at every turn. Merry laughter and
many twinkling feet kept sweet accord with the pleasing strains
of music. The figure of L in purple velvet and white fur is
there, and a pale young 'feller' waltzes by her side. Lovers
and jealousy are there, too ; little they know how soon death
will come between them ! — fair forms, how soon to fade ! — pure
hearts, full of hope, how soon to lose their freshness ! — cloudless
brows and rosy cheeks, how soon to pale and bear the impress
of Care's cruel feet ! My dream was disturbed, for here the
waiter upset a dish over my new coat, and a Licensed Wittier
blessed his eyes. And now. while I write this, where are the
waiters and the Wittlers ? That company will never meet the
same again. Where will they be when next I enter that Hall ?
Where are the people who met at the Ball? Where? Now
scattered never to meet again on earth 1
I4f/i yune, 1852. — I went last evening to what is called a
Puseyite church. It stands in Munster Square, formerly York
Square — a place better known than respected. I like the fine
stained-glass windows, the tasteful gaslights, the ample room
provided to kneel, the division of the men from the women, the
soul-elevating music, and the general unanimity of the con-
gregation in responding; but I don't like the removal of the
Commandments and Belief from the Communion table, and the
substitution of a painted veil of gold, with a cross in the middle,
and a candle burning on each side, for show, and not for light,
towards which all the devotions appear to be made. I don't like
this, because I think Christians, aged or youthful, will get
wrong through the practice. I don't like the universal rising
when the clergymen and choristers come through an iron gate,
as though out of a monastery, into the church, in long procession.
This savours of Popery, and is just getting a little too far in that
direction, without much being gained in other respects. Davie
is jealous of too much homage being paid to you parsons, it
leads both priest and people into error. I miss the prayer for
God's blessing, in the pulpit, before the sermon, and the prayer
after it. There is a shade too much bowing also, although I
should not mind it if it were not done towards the rather gaudy
communion table at the end of the church, so pointedly. The
clergyman — Mr. Stuart, I think — preached a sermon on public
worship, and made a very good case out for the better con-
ducting of the church services, but he defended nothing to which
feel an objection. I think I shall enjoy the evening service
15/A yune, 1852. — Have you seen the summer anywhere
down your way ? He hasn't called here this season. Mr. Rains
absented himself in the early part of the year, for some months,
sending-, in his stead, a very disagreeable and windy person,
called East. East came from a cutting- quarter, a keen fellow,
and a g^reat favourite with the coal trade. He wasn't at all
popular here, thoug-h; so Rains came down upon us himself,
about a month since ; and, by jingo, he doesn't appear to be
going yet. My wife put a lot of " ornaments for yer fire stove "
in our grate about six weeks since, expecting Summer, knowing
that that gentleman objected to a fire ; and here we are, sneaking
into the kitchen, among big pots, black beetles, and crickets, at
,, every opportunity.
l|H 26M June^ 1852. — This week 1 have been engaged at a trial
in the Court of Exchequer. The Achili case was on in the
* Bench,' but you could not have poked so much as your nose*
into the place, it was so crowded.
Did you ever see a Baron of the Exchequer in full costume ?
The Barons were going about in great state yesterday, and I
had much difficulty in keeping a serious face. I begin to think
that they go about for the purpose of making poor witnesses
laugh, in order to commit them for contempt; the shocking old
guys being so short of work, now that the County Courts give
the people cheap law.
What do you think of the Achili case ? Oh, you parsons
are terrible fellows I Before the Times issued its late article —
before, mind! — I arrived at the same conclusion, viz., that the
exhibition of two christian priests ripping each other up in this
way is a fine bone for the grinning infidel and the sneering
scoffer. It strikes me, also, that the Roman Catholics will be
losers, not only of the trial, but of proselytes. In exposing this
man, Achili, they have exposed their own system ; and the
holding up to the light of the awful power of the priests, the
fearful and uncontrolled establishment of the Inquisition, the
possible result of sending a daughter to confess to a man vowed
to celibacy, and all the paraphernalia of the matured but objec-
tionable system of the Roman Church, will do more to frighten
the English people away than would even the preaching of a Robert
Turnbull at St. Paul's Cross ! Talk of High Church ! To hear
and see all we do of the Romish Church just now, is enough to
make us turn Ranters, and yet how much the a^es -owe to the
grand old Church. >^ v^'' ' ' "^ - <>i
Last night a Good's train broke down a tew miles from here.
It's a strange sight to see a lot of men, and fire and lights, and
bales, and broken waggons, and clouds of steam, reflecting the
light like the cloud which led the Israelites, suddenly dropped
down into the silent country, w^here a few moments before the
stars shone calmly down on stillness, save when the nightingale
twittered to its mate or the light wind rippled the quiet stream.
In the mysterious workings of the awful Providence which
governs the earth and its inhabitants, how strangely linked
together are great events and small! matters remote and
unconnected with us, apparently, often become of urgent
consequence to us ere long. Could we look into futurity, how
different would our feelings be! When one of our carpenters
went to bed last night ; when he supped with his wife and made
his arrangements for the morrow, and his promises for the
bright summer days ; when he caressed his little-ones and
thought of his future age and their manhood; when, let us hope,
he knelt in prayer for his daily bread, and forgiveness for his
sins ; could his guardian angel have whispered in his ear that in
few moments an event would occur miles away which would
cause his immediate death, that to-morrow for him would be no
more, that no summer sun would ever shine on his living brow
again, that he had kissed the sweet lips of his darlings for the
last time, that his heart, which so lately warmed with love and
pride and hope for the future, would never kindle with an old
fathers admiration, that he needed to pray, but oh! not for the
bread of this life; had these sentences been uttered, think you
the man would have believed them ? No ! the improbability would
have exceeded his awe at the fearful prophecy. Yet, when sleep
reigned in his house a knocking came and summoned him to
death. The accident near Harrow rendered it necessary to
forward assistance from Camden, and several of the carpenters
were called up. One poor fellow missed his footing while
getting into the train and was killed on the spot. He has left a
wife and large family.
28M June, 1852. — At the Puseyite Church yesterday morning
an alarming sermon from a man with a nasal twang : a few hard
knocks and a short round ; sinners down — as ihe pugilists have it.
At the conclusion of the service, before the prayer for the Church
Militant, a number of gentleman go round with little red velvet
bags and collect the 'one thing needful,' while the clergyman
reads the encouraging passages from Scripture appointed for
the purpose. All very correct and proper ; but the tinkling ot
the sixpence, the unoccupied air of the congregration, and the
dropping pauses between the sentences read by the Priest, have
a strange effect. It is just the time that Mrs. Sloe, the tea-dealer's
wife, reckons up the new summer toggery of Mrs. Alum, the
,. baker's wife, — when Julia Languish takes the opportunity of
|B ascertaining whether that dear fellow with the slight moustache
is in his place. The proper way, I fancy, is to do what the young
lady with the gold ' kivered ' prayer book appears to do, namely,
to kneel in silent prayer; but she throws herself down on the
hard floor with such force that her knees must suifer : and can
anyone pray in pain .?
In the evening to St. James's Chapel, Hampstead Road, Mr.
Stebbing did not preach, but a young man edified us with a
beautiful sermon from the sentence, "But thou has kept the good
wine until now." It was a fervid, comforting, discourse, touching
the heart with the love and hope of Christianity and showing
God's ultimate good to his creatures, though here they might be
visited with sorrow and affliction. It was likely to soften the
hardened, to win the wavering, and soothe the troubled; and a
few sound truthful arguments, candidly and entreatingly expressed,
as from one man to another, completed the effective address.
29M j^une, 1852. — Eliza and Mrs. Hutton went to Barnet
yesterday, so I took the opportunity of stealing off to the theatre,
to see a much talked-of piece called the ''Vampire." There are
no end of ghosts in it, which caused me to whistle a great deal as
I came up our dark lane on my way home. I saw a fight in Oxford
Street, — up and down, hard blows, blood, and curses ground
between the teeth, a scream, a crowd, and a policeman, as if
from the bowels of the earth, stood between the combatants, who
dropped their arms sulkily to the Majesty of the law. One
drunken non-combatant became strongty pot-valiant when there
was no fear of a fight being allowed. "Show me," said he,
"show me a man, and I'll fly into him like a 'hevil genus!' " So
home to bed.
I have just been to see Mrs. Walker, the widow of my poor friend
the Locomotive Manager here, of whom I wrote to you some time
since. A pretty good collection has been made for her, but with
her large family it is a small allowance. She will be confined in
August and add another fatherless child to the number. At best,
the attention of kind-hearted friends but ill supplies the father's
place; and the troublesome advice of well meaning persons
perplexes and mocks the bruised heart. She is a very pure-minded
and upright woman, and a credit to Auld Scotland. God will not
I am just about to shut up. Another day has rolled away,
and, like the waves of the receding tide leaving the beach
revealed, another multitude of sins, equal in number to the grains
of sand on the shore, are recorded. Why does the earth remain ?
Why are men born to destruction ? A breath of His will would
crumble up the rolling globe, teeming with living things, and
scatter it into space, as bursts the soap-and-water globule from
the boy's tobacoo pipe and is no more seen. Incomprehensible
scheme I how profound are thy mysteries ! how perplexing thy
revelations ! how immeasurably mighty must be thy Maker, the
vast and unfathomable God! O puny earth, — yet great and
inexhaustibly wonderful earth ! And man — how insignificant !
Wondering over all, daring to approach even to the Great First
Cause of all,— ungovernable, restless, — flows the never-dying
thought. Reasoning, questioning comparing, praying, yet sinning
— Free Essence ! Eternal Soul ! Beautiful gift of the all-bountiful
Creator ! Why, oh ! why art thou not ever stainless ? What unseen
end is accomplished by thy association with corruption and evil ?
Patience ! It is told us that Eternity will come, and time and sin
will be no more. Beauty and grace, and pure and holy love will
be in Heaven. Bright Heaven ! a home of never fading light
and everlasting happiness, where glory, untainted by ambition or
death, will shine on all for ever.
yzily 7M, 1852. — I have been very gay lately. Last week
we had Mrs. Hutton and two lady friends stopping with us. They
went to Gravesend one day, and T. L. and I joined them
in the afternoon. On my journey down I left the "Meteor"
steamboat about two minutes before she saved the passengers
from the unfortunate "Duchess of Kent." One of our people
whom I left on board saw it all, and described the scene as
awful in the extreme. On Saturday I went to Grays on a visit
until Monday. My host introduced me to an old lady, the
proprietress of an inn, her son, and three pretty black-eyed
daughters. The old woman is quite a character, and tells very
funny stories of life when she was young, fifty years ago.
Coming home in the boat on Monday, I talked with some
soldiers, and was highly edified with a " gent " with moustaches,
who boasted of the superiority of the travelling arrangements
on the Continent, and wanted to know ''Wart we were detayned
foh." He twiddled his hair and showed his ring — an immense
one — and behaved as became a fop ; and I was enraged to see
a beautiful fair-haired, rosy, blue-eyed girl evidently admiring
him, and smoothing her face and furbelows to be admired in
To an evening concert, with the girls, at the Beethoven
rooms. Good music. These entertainments seldom pay, I
believe. They are usually half-filled with orders, and are mostly
intended to get up a name for some singer who wants to be
considered a rising man. Mr. F. B. was the aspirant in
this case, and we four paid nothing. It is very nice to wear
white kids and sit with scented folks in a beautiful drawing room,
to hear sweet sounds from pretty women and well-dressed men.
1 like to take the scene into my fancy, and believe that all the
people present are really what they seem — human butterflies —
whose hands are never soiled, whose faces never frown, whose
lips are always pure ; and not Alum the baker, and Sloe the
grocer, and Hookit the swindler, and David the clerk, with their
•cleaned gloves and greased heads. That the ladies are all
angelic as they appear, and that no struggle has occurred to get
>the pretty brooch or the gay ribbon ; but let us spare them !
they are so much better than men, that they are angelic
comparatively. Home late. Felt the appeal to my gallantry
in my pocket, being the only gentleman with three ladies ; which
■cabs is expensive.
Tihjuly, 1852. — This night by the death bedside of poor S.
He was a strong fine man, with good hope of a long life. We
liked him for his bass songs and friendly disposition, and forg-ave
him his prosy stories about his native town, Manchester, which he,
poor man, considered a model city. Some time ago he had
lodgings in some house where he picked up a woman and
married her, and, when too late he discovered her to have been
a disreputable character. She soon evinced a partiality for
spirits and pawned his property. He, however, in some measure
reformed her, and kept her with him. Disgusting to tell, the
near approach of his death imbued her with a desire to get hold
of what little money he had, to indulge in her propensity while he
lay gasping for life on a sick bed. Finally, after a day ot
drunkenness, she endeavoured to get his watch from beneath his
pillow; and it so exasperated the dying man that he rushed up
from the bed and ran after her into the street. With much
difficulty we got him to bed again, and obtained from her the
watch and some of his money, which he placed in the custody of a
neighbour. Assured by the doctor of the impossibility of his
recovery, I entreated S. to think no more of his earthly
possessions, and bade him look for pardon and hope where alone
it can be found, — and may God consecrate the words which were
offered by my unworthy lips, to the salvation of his soul ! May he
grant me in my last hour that hope and consolation with which I
fain would have impressed this poor man !
gih July, 1852. — Here's a pretty woman with a baby wants
me— very ominous — with a sweet smile too. Bless me! It was
Mrs. P. Now Mrs. P. is the wife of Mr. P., a young clerk, a
gentlemanly young man, with few influential friends. He lost his
situation some three months ago and has been pinched very hard,
by ^' short commons." He told Mr. Mills, in confidence, that ai
porter's place would be acceptable, if it were in the country, out
of sight of those who had seen him better off. Poor fellow ! So
we have managed to put him on as office porter at Watford, and
he and she are so overjoyed and so thankful, and think us so good
to grant them a pass and to free their goods— scanty sticks, poor
dears— as if it cost me or Mr. Mills anything. It is pleasant; no,
altogether it is not a pleasant thing to receive undeserved
gratitude. One feels somehow an impostor; and yet it is a.
comfort to behold new-found happiness.
When in Oxford Street yesterday evening-, one of our people
and I were boyish enough to go into a show to see a wonderful
lady with a beard and whiskers. She introduced herself politely
as a native of Geneva, twenty-one years of age. Her neck was
white, and unmistakably a woman's, but her face looked about
thirty-five years old. Hair grew round her cheeks and chin, and
some ladies present pulled it; it was evidently genuine. She wore
a gold watch and a black satin dress, and a wonderful head-dress
of diamonds (?) "Laydes and gent'men," said she, "I em vaisey
mush oblige. My bebby is at de door." The baby at the door
was a beauty, but I don't believe in //.
iQthJuly, 1852. — Here's a letter come requesting me to state
the condition of Mr. Jack L's. health, and whether I think he is
eligible for assurance, and begging me to unfold my inmost
opinion, in confidence, to the Secretary of the concern . Well, what
shall I say ? Jack is a strong fellow ; he can eat — rather! he can
jump or run, and on a pinch could ram his head through a cheese
or a grindstone. Yes, Mr. Secretary, unless you are a very strong
man, Jack will see us both out, sir ; we shall be down in the dust
and evaporated, before Jack gives up. Lor, Sir Sec ! you and I
may help to eke out old Jack at last. He may smell us or eat us,
through some of nature's strange transfers, and get us into his
blood somehow ; and who knows whether that won't set him
a- thinking of us — dead and gone — and soften him ; for somewhere
about him there are tears and soft feelings, although he's rough
now — very ; and so we may do something for him, dead, though we
do nothing for anybody living. And believe me, brother quill-
driver, our doings for Jack, or anyone else, here, are as much a
mystery, and the work of the Great Governor, as the silly conceit
I have just uttered about our probable doings hereafter.
\2th July, 1852. — Emily and Eliza and I went to the Marion-
ette Theatre on Saturday evening. The Adelaide Gallery
forms a pretty little house ; but oh, for poor Punch and Judy,
whom the Police Act endeavoured to annihilate ! They are
infinitely superior to this affair. The marionette puppets have
dreadful convulsions, especially when they walk, and the
audience continually make mistakes as to the person speaking.
The voices behind the scenes are out of proportion. One curious
effect I observed. After looking- at the performance an hour or
two the eye becomes unable to form an estimate of the real size
of the figures. The scenes, tables, chairs, decorations, etc.,
being all, in proportion, there is no difficulty in imagining the
things as large as life, and people go away with different
notions of the height and size of them. Emily thinks they were
nearly as large as life. Eliza says they were about the height
of a girl twelve years old. Mrs. Livock and John, who have
been to see them, say about half the size of life ; and I myself
am confident they do not exceed two feet. This may seem stupid,
but it is true.
To church at St. Mark's; Mr. Galloway not back yet. I
understand he has lost his wife, and is gone for change to the
seaside. An appeal is made to defray the expenses of doing the
work while he is away. I would put down my little mite cheer-
fully, but I rather object to this call. What is the use of
episcopacy if it cannot meet an occasion like this ? Why cannot
a few reserve men be kept by the richly paid bishop ? Not that
I wish to speak disrespectfully of the bishop, or of any of my
pastors and masters, but I do protest against the reservation of
so much wealth in the higher walks of the pasture, while down
among the flocks, where the work is to be done, the shepherds
are only kept just above starvation-point, and the flocks are often
prematurely fleeced to obtain that.
\-i^th July, 1852. — Last evening Mr. and Mrs. Stevenson
gave, a select soiree at their mansion in Regent's Park Road.
The aristocracy present were the right fat and podgy Mrs. H.,
the long Mr. M., and the elegant and accomplished Miss M., the
thin Mr. R. M., and the pretty Miss H., of Hampstead. Singing
was kept up to a late hour, when a recherche supper was served,
in Betsy's best style, on the two parlour tables shoved together.
The amiable Mr. H. attended in his spectacles, and performed
Lucy Neal, with variations, on the violin. The last reveller from
Chalk Farm Tavern was turned out by the landlord, as the party
emerged from Montrose House amid the music of much laughter
and many shakings of hands. There is no truth in the report that
Mr. M. kissed Miss M. while they were looking for Miss M.'s
pardsol in the passage, although it is generally considered that the
worthy host acted very improperly in carrying- away the light at
the precise juncture, particularly as the young- couple will be
married in February next, and ought not to require kissing- at all,
considering what a lot of that sort of thing they will have to
I have been to Eliza's doctor in Finsbury Square to
ascertain the real state of her health. He says the air we live in
is impure. I think he is a humbug. He has ordered Eliza to
Ramsgate immediately, and says she will soon be well there. The
doctor told me I looked as though I lived in bad air, and that I
confirmed his previous notion. He added, however, that I had
a strong constitution.
What an awful place is the waiting-room of a physician !
One cannot help feeling that every person there has some
dreadfully bad place under his or her clothes. Wounds and
sores appear to surround one, and a little imagination would
make you sure that the apartment smelt of disease. I fancy the
feeling is something akin to that of those who " passed by on
the other side," in the case of the man who fell among thieves.
No doubt the lady who stared at me was wondering what I had
the matter with me — ^whereabouts the bandages were, and
whether it was the result of accident, of hereditary disorder, or
of personal neglect. I was glad when the man in plush responded
to my silver key and showed me in to the medical man. Plush
thinks himself half way towards being a doctor; he speaks of
''our patients," "our fees," ''our busiest time," in the worst
English, it is true, but with the tone of a man convinced that he
has had a hand in the cures ; and, in many cases, I believe the
grammar is the only difference between Jeames and his master.
i^thjuly, 1852. — One of our teams killed a poor little child,
about eight years of age, yesterday. It died on the spot ; and
so an angel went up to Heaven leaving its mantel of griel
hanging heavily on its parents.
Sauntering from dinner just now I paused where two houses
are being built, when the foreman and an English labourer had
a few words, more emphatic than elegant. A paddy from the
opposite job, sung out " Don't swear," which injured the dignity
of the brave Englishman, and he forthwith walled across and
fetched Paddy a punch on the nose; but the fall he got
immediately must have relieved him of a little wind. Up he rose
and again assailed the Irishman, immersing the Emerald Isle
in deluges of sanguinary expressions. Englishmen always do
thrown poor Pat's country in his face in a quarrel. Again the
bold Englisher went down a ''buster " ; when a little man with a
bullet head — I hope he wasn't an Englishman — came behind
Paddy and smote him a dig in the ear that would have polished
off such a man as your friend Davey entirely. This w^as the
signal for a general scrimmage "Hooroo, ye devils " was heard
on all sides. As I w'as the only impartial person present I
sheered off to a deferential distance, and in about a quarter of
an hour the storm subsided, save now and then the distant
thunder of the original Englishman's voice, dying away in dis-
By the way if you don't send me a good long letter after
this I shall think I am boring you. Can't you tell me, my
patriotic parson, how the country is going on — whether, because
Snooks, or Leatherlungs, or Freebread is " in," the country
will topple down to destruction, or because Steadycourse and
Scornpraise are left out, no one can be found to govern
the country? "Lor, Sir!" you should tell me; for I get
bewildered between the arguments and protestations — the
patriotism, the ambition, the jaw, the claptrap, and the deceit
of politics. One thing often strikes me, and that is, that with
nations, as with children, they may have good governors, or bad,
from whom they may imbibe a something, one way or the other,
but the bulk of the result will be found to be in their own nature.
They are for the most part born what they will be, in spite of
the straws which stand in the way.
\^thjuly\ 1852. — Talked to a sort of running porter, who
gets his living by finding ' busses ' for passengers, opposite the
Mansion House. '' Such a living as it is," said he, — adding *' but I
could yarn more, yellowmen, if it warnt for my ' sperit.' I hev
got sich a sperit. Now, if you hadn't answered to my satis-
faction, no more you'd a had out o' me. I never axes twice — I
can't — it goes agen me summuz. Now, there's that cove over
there— t'other side o' the way, — there's him, as is at it now. He
makes a tidy thing of it— five or six bob a night. He reglar
insults people. I hate sich mean ways. Here's a Ampstead
bus, sir, — thankee, sir — good night, sir, and thankee for me."
i^thjuly, 1852. Detained at Bayswater for several hours
by a most awful storm, — such blue grinning lightning and such
bursting clattering thunder!
igthjuly, 1852. — I went to Southall on Saturday night, on
a visit to a very delightful family. Mr. G. is surveyor of the
roads under the Metropolitan Commissioners. He has a nice
house, keeps two horses, a four-wheel and a gig, and has
a splendid garden, full of glorious flowers and fruit, with fountains
and nooks and arbours, — a large farm-yard, a field, and a
piece of ground for wurzel and other stuff" for two cows, all
laid out in good order, so that you may stroll about and enjoy
yourself for hours. There are several boys, from eight to
eighteen years old, and two daughters, one twelve and the other
twenty ; and they are the most amiable and loving young folks
that I have seen for many a day. The boys wait on the girls like
gallants, and on their mother, whose every wish is anticipated.
She is an amiable woman and has been a beauty. A few years
ago she lost one of her legs by an accident and she wears a cork
one, and the tenderness that has grown out of that sorrow is
beautiful to see. Thus good continually arises out of evil, —
adversity and affliction purify the soul. The old gentleman is so
hospitable. He makes his visitors eat and drink, routs them out
of bed in the morning, and shows in a thousand ways his great
We heard an excellent sermon from the incumbent ot
Norwood Green Church. I felt much of the discourse as applic-
able to myself, and made some solemn resolutions; but if you
only knew what a weak man I am, how prone to evil, how
yielding and unenergetic, you would pity me. I sometimes long
for one hour of sincere repentance and belief in the saving atone-
ment of our blessed Redeemer, and then to quit this world of
temptation for ever. For who would live but that it is the will of
Him who will dispose of us hereafter .? May He grant me grace
to keep me in the right path, to resist evil and myself, (who am
full of evil,) and take me into His Kingdom, in His own time,
when this fight, so inglorious to me hitherto, shall cease.
26th July, 1852. — On Saturday evening I went to Harrow
to reconnoitre for a house, as I intend, in the course of a year
or two (D.V.), to remove thither, in order that James shall be
qualified for admittance into the Harrow School, and also for the
sake of Eliza's health. There is plenty of ground marked out
for building, and it is a fine place. Such a magnificent view
from the churchyard. "Ah! " said the sexton to me, ''There's
where old Byron had his tea-things many a brave day," pointing
to some unfortunate person's tombstone, which has been chipped
almost all away by the enthusiastic Britishers and Yankees,
because Lord Byron used to recline upon it and contemplate the
view of the country. The poor sexton walked away in disgust
when he found I had no inclination to listen to his story nor to
fork out sixpence.
28M July, 1852. — Last night amongst a lot of cricketing
gentlemen, who are mad for bats and belts and leggings and
flannel jackets, to the great profit and satisfaction of
Mr. C, who teaches them to play and supplies their little
requirements. He is a tanned shady-faced man, with white
whiskers and a nose which appears to have had the gristle taken
out for the convenience of cricketing, and he evidently considers
cricket to be as important a subject of discourse as free trade or
the Protestant cause. He talks solemnly about it, as though
there were more in it than the world could be prevailed upon
to believe. C. harangued the club last night and strongly
recommended the social glass as a good thing to " keep your
men together." The good man strengthened his precept by an
energetic practice, and although he profoundly announced
several times that he had had his •' dose," yet he yielded to
his inclination and suffered himself to be persuaded into another
glass. What a terrible thing that drink is! If intoxicating
liquors could be utterly abolished what a happiness it would be
to the world !
19M October, 1852. — When shall I cease to tell you that we
are very busy .^ When? Ah! when.? Will no one leave me a
fortune ? Shall I always ply the pen to keep my wife and picca-
ninnies? I suppose so ; and a good dispensation too, I feel sure.
vSo my hand must shake, and my noddle tremble, and shuffling-
limbs support my bended back and silvered head before I ran
tell you that I am released from toil. Well, we are busy this
time. The gold-diggers have found the treasure and raised their
voices to such a tune that the mighty sound rings through all the
workshops of old England. The wax, and the thread, and the
leather combined into boots and shoes by the bootmakers of
Northampton come up in tons daily, to be shipped; thousands
of tons of cotton goods from the clicking, snorting factories of
Lancashire pour through our sheds (to be shipped) ; Sheffield
cutlery comes from Birmingham, in bewildering quantities, to
be shipped ; Staffordshire crates, Coventry ribbons and watches,
Worcestershire carpets, canvas and linen from Scotland, and
woollen bales from Yorkshire teem into the station to be tumbled
out and shipped; while the salt provisions, biscuits, wines and
spirits for the voyages are astounding. Then, to keep the pot
boiling (down), we are obliged to hurry hides to be tanned,
and no end of other stuff to tan them, and the bark off
all the trees in England, I am sure, to help. Square bales ot
foreign wool are hauled from the dark holds of ships and bundled
into Yorkshire ; stag horns, elephants' tusks, flax, ironstone,
oil, to be manufactured ; and tea, sugar, wine, beer, fish, flour,
corn, tons on tons, to feed the manufacturers; with guano
to grow their vegetables, and bonnets, perfumery, pianos, furni-
ture, and toys for their wives and families. And all this besides
the meat and potatoes in hundreds of tons weekly, and nine
thousand head of animals to feed the cockneys who keep the
account of all these mighty movings, with six hundred thousand
tons of coal to help to light the fires to cook the grub. Oh,
dear me! Silk (raw) to Macclesfield, and manufactured silk up
from the same ; lace from Nottingham ; glue, grindstones, gum,
gun-barrels, bottles, anchors, and American clocks, gutta
percha, ice and iron bedsteads, grease, grates, blacking bottles,
garden seats, machinery, bobbins, needles in awfully heavy little
packages, bees wax, blankets from Witney, cables and clogs,
butter and buttons, pitch and pumice-stone, cannon balls, reaping
hooks, and soldiers' clothing. Then it is the heaviest hop season
' ever knowh, and the tig-htly stuffed pockets are rolling- in upon
us unrelentingly, until pile on pile is stacked up to wait for
wag^g-ons and tarpaulins, which cannot be obtained for them in
consequence of the unprecedented increase of our trade.
2ird October, 1852. — Crowded, and crammed, and jammed,
here we are again this morning", and the rain coming" down like
a water-spout, and a coal engine has just run into the
broadside of the down mail, sending the lot to smithereens and
blocking our line, so that the goods train can't go out. Nobody
hurt but the driver. If you could only see the debris, you'd say
it was a miracle.
27/^ October, 1852. — Swift has just been asking us to meet J.
at his house and make it up ; and so we go on unto our lives'
end, as thousands have gone on before us. What a breadth and
importance we attach to our own little span ! How we smile and
philosophise over the lives of those who have preceded us ! "All
the world's a stage," — but all the men and women are very fond
of thinking themselves the audience.
2^th October, 1 85 2. — What clever writers are bursting into
print with letters to the Times ! One sapient individual proves
even too much. He first says that the Companies have long
known that one accident costs more than the expenses of an
efficient staff for a year, and then adds that, for the sake of
economy, the Companies prefer an occasional accident to keeping
an efficient staff, because it costs less. Wonderful man ! The
fact of the matter is, that the prosperity of the country has so
suddenly and so vastly increased, that the railways cannot
sufficiently expand to receive it. They had scarcely recovered
from the Exhibition inundation when this flood of unexpected
traffic came upon them. The people, by their representatives,
forced the railways into the lowest possible fares and rates, by
allowing competition ; and, unless they forfeited their dividends,
it would be impossible for the Companies to keep a large reserve
of plant and trained officers to meet such an unprecedented
influx of traffic as the present. They did keep every department
full-handed before other lines were allowed to go into their
districts in violation of their vested rights. As far as the road is
concerned, our one railway is ample for the traffic of all the
districts it covers. It is the spare engines and experienced hands
of which we are deficient, and these time only can enable the
abused but anxious directors to supply. Some grocer who mixes
red lead with his cayenne, and takes an apprentice, whose
marrow and bones he uses up for seven years without a penny
payment, and commits daily other tricks of trade, having- more
ink than brains, and a cacotthes scribendi, humanely suggests the
mulcting the poor station clerks, or the forcing a director to ride
on the frame of each engine. Witty and intelligent person !
If by his adulterations, which, poor man, he would say the
competition in trade obliged him to practice against his
conscience, he could scrape together sufficient to become a
railway director, he would change his tune to that of the grind-
ing, cheese-paring, penny-wise and pound-foolish description of
man who now and then gets upon the Board, but whose illiberal
policy is mostly kept under by the better sense of the other
directors. There! having disgorged my bile, I'll go to dinner.
\6th November, 1852. — Not a word to you for ten days. Weill
floods and things have so '' served us out " that really one has
felt like Job. No sooner has one bespattered guard told his tale
of disaster by flood and field, than another man rushes up to
announce another stoppage. Kensington under four feet of
water ; West London line damaged ; Bedford branch flooded
and impassable ; Poplar station submerged ; Peterborough
branch blocked by the surging waters ; Oxford branch tunnel
fallen in ; and Kilsby main-line tunnel queer. Midland viaduct
washed away, and a bridge on the Trent Valley line ditto.
Rugby and Stamford line underwater. South Staffordshire branch
also swamped, with a multitude of minor mischances. Our
neighbours, too, have been as badly visited. The Great Western,
Great Northern, and Eastern Counties, have all been more or
less shut up by the rolling waters. Can you tell your poor
lay brother-clerk what it all means ? Is the clerk of the weather
selling his rain off at a ruinous sacrifice? or are the elements
weeping for the death of England's hero ? If the latter they
have the water laid on from the main, as Sam Weller says.
26//^ November^ 1852. — Two hundred and thirty loads of cattle
and goods came into this station within three-quarters of an hour
on Saturday nig-ht, — such a job! Talk of managing- people, or
anything else, in moving masses ! What use would the great
Duke have been at Camden ? We delayed the express, and the
passengers enunciated their opinions of us. Who cares? Let'em
get out and do it themselves — that's all. One of the passengers
told me a joke, by way of relief. When they arrived at Leighton
the porter sang out, as usual, " Lay-tun ! Lay-tun ! " which a
young fellow, afflicted with wit, said was exasperating in the
extreme, considering that it was enough to know that the train
was a ** late'un," without the fact being bawled into their ears by
a porter hired and liveried for the purpose.
yth December, 1852. — I am taking a dip now and then into
those beautiful lays of the Scottish Cavaliers, and I am on those
occasions carried up above the present altogether. I soar above
Camden Station, and dream in that lovely cloudland of romance.
How about your income tax of fivepence-farthing in the
pound ? What do you now think of Dizzy .? Some of our men
are emigrating; and who would not do so in their circumstances .'^
The hundred pound per annum men are the strength and sinews
ot the mercantile world. They are also just the men who will
emigrate and do well. There never was a more unwise measure
than to put such a heavy tax on to poor struggling chaps with
few comforts and many children. I rub against these men (I
have been one of them single, and I may be one of them married
some day, — I don't deserve to be so well off" as many of them),
and I know what they have to bear in a place like London, and
how well they bear it ; hoping for ever, and being careful of
their duty, and their clothes, and their " kids," in the meanwhile.
It is wrong to take these poor fellows' pence. It is an effectual
plan to prevent the children getting education, and the ability to
see how their rulers are exempted from paying legacy duty, &c.
gth December, 1852. — I have just been at the Cattle Show, on
business. I am happy to say that all my important trains of
cattle are in for to-day. Whether I shall get over the next three
heavy days, without delaying the passenger trains and incurring
discredit, I cannot tell. It is a lottery. Our place is small, and
the overwhelming trains of goods and cattle come pouring in.
One needs a voice of thunder, and wings, so as to be at all
points in a little time.
2 is/ Decefuher, 1852. — Here is one of my men who has taken
his time-piece, on the sly, to the maker's, who contracts for
repairs. It is completely smashed. On taking" a glance at the
chap's proboscis, I perceive that he has had a whack on that
instrument; and on calling up my memory, I do bethink me
that I saw his lordship come out of a public-house early one
morning last week. Now, he says that he had only been in for
half-a-pint of beer, as a great exception ; that the train started
suddenly, and hurled him against the iron rail of his break, and
that at another time a bit of iron flew up and cut his nose. What
are you to do in such a case ? Let him go, I suppose, and
tell him to look out; pull a grave face, and bid him think of
his family, and not fall into evil habits; all of which he meets
by strong assertions that he has long seen the necessity of a
virtuous career, and that that is why he has become such an
exemplary character, the admiration of all his acquaintances,
227td December, 1 852. — The note of preparation sounds for
Christmas. Special trains are harnessing to convey wandering
sons to the fireside of old home, to carry the eye and heart from
the eager pursuit of gain and distinction back to that dear place
where the prayer was first learned and the precept given, there
to note with tenderness the signs of increasing years in the
devoted parent, the kindling manhood of the brother, and the
beauty of the young sister. Steam, too, is preparing in the big
engine to bring in the long Parliamentary train filled with
hard-working toilers. They each arrive with a small bundle of
presents for their friends ; and when they get out of the train and
meet Jack or Tom they shake hands, — and there's no mistake
about the squeeze. The bewildering mass of turkeys, hares,
geese, parcels of perishables, &c., which pour out of every
incoming train is truly distracting. Clerks have to sit up all
night and all day, with bread and beef in one hand, to keep up
the steam, and the pen in the other, recording these substantial
tokens of the love there is in the world. Turn 'em out, — here
you are, — and there's more a-coming,— call 'em over, — here's no
direction, — never mind, — shove him in, — what's that? — never
mind, — pick up some direction, — stick it on, — fire away 1
yth January, 1853. — A bullock ran off a cattle platform last
night and jumped on to the main line. He trotted majestically
into the tunnel, where he received a poke in the ribs from a
playful passenger engine coming up. On he went, however, for
about four miles, leaving four of our men panting after him far
behind, and everybody here in a state of alarm about the final
result. At length up came the news. The Tring train had cut
the animal "to ribbons," as my foreman said. The heart was
found fifty yards from the rest of the body. The whole train
went over him, but only the engine and break-van were thrown
off, and no one was hurt.
nth January, 1853. — Poor, weak, silly J. E., with ill health,
a nervous disposition, a poor old father and mother who loved
him, respectable friends, and a confiding master and patron,
collected all the Company's money (about £1,000) at his station
at , took a ticket for Tring, but came on to London last
Tuesday week, by the morning mail, paid the difference of fare,
and then, as the political economists say, became absorbed in the
population. Up to the present we have failed to find him,
although I took a detective and rushed down the line, searched
his lodgings, questioned his landlady (who said she had a disease
of the heart and couldn't stand it), and put him in the Hue and Cry,
On Sunday I went to hear Dr. Pusey preach. A good
practical sermon upon our besetting sins, and it might have been
all copied from Bishop Taylor's "Holy Living." Dr. Pusey
looks rather miserable. His hair wants combing, and his
whiskers are a dirty colour, and, being scanty, have a mangey
appearance. His forehead is high, but looks higher because of a
slight baldness. His neck-cloth is low and he wears no collar.
His nose is well-shaped and large, and his eye rather bleared —
which may be from age. He appears between fifty and sixty.
You can hear his voice well, but it is hard in quality, and he gives
his jaw a twitch when he speaks, which is not pleasant to see.
Last night we all went to Saddler's Wells. Saw Phelps
in Henry the Fifth. A good play is a great enjoyment. The
pantomime was very good. I should think the wonderful fellows
who tumble so extraordinarily, as though they had gutta-percha
spines, must have devoted the whole of their existence to their
" profession/' and may, consequently, be unable to read or write
or do anything else.
14M January, 1 85 3. — Allow me to tell you that we have
been cultivating a very peculiar breed of pig for some time past.
In fact, I may say he's more peculiar than profitable ; for although
we have fed him with all those inviting washes in which pigs
delight, consisting of the " bilings " of all the Christmas good
things, with pollard and barley-meal, and many other luxuries,
the creature disdains to get fat. He maintains the most delicate
proportions in spite of all our efforts ; and although I love the
beautiful, still I like it to pay; but this pig practically uses
Pistol's reply, " Base is the slave who pays " ! — and so no pork
have we !
20th yanuary, 1 853. — R. went to Sadler's Wells with us as
gay as a lark. He was a cheerful fellow, kind-hearted, but
rather extravagant. He had a nice home, seven fine children,
from eighteen years old downward (for he married very young),
and good prospects, while his ^^300 per annum as Station Master
in the goods department of station enabled him to live
comfortably in the meantime. Last week he had £416 to pay
the men, and when he returned to the office after dinner he found
a leaden key broken in the lock of the safe and the money gone
He closed the station gates instantly and had every person
searched, but without effect. Mr. , the General Manager,
then sent for the lock-maker, Chubb, who pronounced it impos-
sible to open one of his locks with a pewter key, and so they
suspended R., who took the accusation to heart and ran away.
His wife in a day or so received a lock of his hair and some
affecting words of farewell, not expressly saying that he intended
suicide, but that Mr. 's conduct was too much to bear and
he should never behold her again. Meanwhile the Guarantee
Society took possession of the house and furniture. The police
seized all the private letters and papers, and £10, leaving the poor
woman with five-and-sixpence and all her overwhelming trouble.
So perhaps he is innocent and distracted, or perhaps guilty and
•cunning. He is excitable enough to be half mad under the former
circumstances, and talented enoug-h to complete a robbery of the
i^th January, 1853. — I am glad the journal amuses you. I
find it pleasant to jot down a few thoughts and occurrences at the
close of the day's work. It is agreeable now and then, too, to
drag out the inner man and give him a little fresh air and paper.
At best he's a secret, reserved, moody, wicked fellow, hiding him-
self in the recesses of the heart, where he for the most part
dwells, and brooding over evil thoughts; sometimes sinful and
rebellious — coveting, envying, hating ; and yet inconsistent — for
he sometimes lies prostrate in sorrow for error — repents and
prays and vows ; and sometimes, too, the recollection of his own
weaknesses fills him with tenderness towards his fallen fellow-
creatures, and for the poor and less richly blessed than he. These
are, however, but the visits of angels to his solitude and are
" few and far between." For the most part impatience and anger
and pride prevail ; and I say, therefore, O my friend ! it does him
much good to look in upon him occasionally and record a few ot
his aspirations. So when he gazes on the written realised thought
his aspect brightens and he casts the good thought on the waters
of his memory, and after many days it may return to him and
stay the angry word or the harsh judgment.
27/A January, 185 3. — So you are grumbling because you
don't make Whitchurch the most Christian parish in the kingdom!;
You don't know what is going on under the dark surface. The
grain has been cast in, and the harvest-time may come when
you are far away. The floods may wash away, or rot some of
it, but surely all will not be lost. The green blade may not arise
in the soul until the last moments of life, and then may have
such a ray of heavenly sunshine poured down upon it that in aa
hour the ripened ear may appear to view, before the Christian
sighs away existence. Certainly no words of exhortation earnestly
and prayerfully poured out to a congregation can be entirely lost.
Some heart must be touched, some conscience moved — it may be
to fall asleep again ; but two or three such knocks must awake
Now what is to be done with a package consigned to-
"Young-," "till called for"? because, althoug-hit is entered as
" Glass, with care," an enterprising- checking--clerk has discovered,
througfh a crevice, that it contains the body of some individual de-
ceased. It came here very early yesterday morning-, and *' Young" "
don't seem to care about coming for the glass up to this juncture,
8 p.m. After 3 a.m., when the trains are most of them gone,
and the gas is turned down a little, you won't find many clerks
or porters in the large dark shed, in the particular corner where
the case of glass stands. *' Don't stand it on end," said one of
the men, when they found out the contents ; " perhaps you've got
the poor fellow legs up'ards.'
I'^th January, 1853. — Young came for his case of glass this
Beck, a poor porter in Chaplin & Home's employ, wanted me
to pass a boy down to Wolverton, our Locomotive Establishment.
His boy he called him, and he was going to learn to be a
mechanic. By a mere accident I learnt to-night that the boy is
a very intelligent lad, and has received an excellent education at
the hands of porter Beck with his eighteen shillings per week ;
that he is not Beck's boy, but that the boy's father was killed on
the Chester and Holyhead line, and Beck "had compassion " on
him, and when he lost his father took him away and brought him
up. " For as much as ye have done it, &c." Beck! glory may
shine on the great here, but a glory awaits thee hereafter. Let
us look to it. Let me take home a big boy, bear with his tempers,
check his propensities, patiently teach him, save him from the
reproaches of my wife and children in moments of thoughtlessness
(and my wife should be more thoughtful than good Beck's wife),
in short, take the heavy charge of him up to fourteen years of
age. I'm ashamed to say I should refuse to do it, or if I did
it, I should make my sins a multitude that the charity might cover
them. Oh, philosopher ! Cast thy pen away ! Give up reflection !
Turn from all the speculations on thy progress, and humbly
imitate the poor man who, without education or any advantage
but his eighteen shillings per week, performs an immortal good !
31J/ January, 1853. — I ^^^^e had a long ride on the engine
and am tired. You never went through a tunnel on an engine ?
I don't know anything more awful; although one gets so
accustomed to it that it does not create any exclamation.
Imag-ine the most utter darkness — a mig-hty roar beneath a
vaulted roof, made by the steam, the machinery, and the action
of twenty or thirty tons weight of iron rattling- along- at thirty
miles an hour over iron rails, every joint of the rails giving- out
a loud sound — and then the convulsive vibration of the plate on
which you stand and the rail you hold. You feel alone in the
deep g-loom, but yet feel that two men stand somewhere near
you, and you know that all are impressed with the thought that
the crack of a wheel, the fracture of a spring, a stone on the
line, a loose rail, or any irregularity, would send all the iron and
wood and flesh and blood and bones and fire into one wrecked
heap in that dreadful place. Nothing gives me the feeling that
we are helplessly in the hands of the Almighty so much as riding
on an engine through a long tunnel. It is, however, pretty to
see the light of the sun appear at the approaching end, — first a
speck, then larger, until a small theatre is unfolded, with a
natural landscape for a scene.
1st February, 1 85 3. — We have been in a cloud here all
day,, — a cold, choking, dismal, dense fog. Our detonating
signals, which explode like artillery when the waggons pass over
them, have been booming on the station as though we were on a
field of battle, and I don't know whether the place is not as
dangerous as one, for we can't see ten yards, and engines and
trains are flitting about in all directions, while the fog signals
almost make one jump out of one's skin and into the way of
danger. I have felt inclined to send messages about the station,
instead of going myself. I cannot express too much admiration
of the rules of war which instruct a wise general to keep himself
out of danger ! But the fog gets everywhere. In the open
station there" s an eternity of it. In the dark passage in our
ofiice you can smell it. It is in the gas-lighted room, in your hat,
up your trousers' legs, and it evidently makes an attempt to get
into the fire, which looks bright with indignation in consequence.
Well ! I want my tea, and I think I've said enough of the fog,
which is a disgusting vapour made by the witches for the especial
torment of railway officials.
2isi February, 1853. — To-morrow the inquest sits on the
bodies of two of our coal porters who have been killed in the
tunnel. The poor fellows had lain down, as is usual when two
trains pass any pedestrian on the line in different directions, but
instead of taking the six-feet width between the rails they took the
up-line, and the low fire-box of the engine gave them no chance.
One poor man was found mixed up with the machinery and
frightfully mangled. He leaves a wife and five children. One
of my best men has, also, crushed a finger between the buffers;
and what with sickness and the frost, we are in a terrible pickle.
It is a strange thing that accidents and injuries frequently
pursue one man or one family. One of the poor creatures
killed in the tunnel turned the points wrong about three months
ago, and made a great mess of it. Backer, a porter at Euston,
was knocked and squeezed, and immediately after his return
from the hospital, cured of the effects of a crush between the
buffers, his arm was smashed between two carriages. He
learned to write with his left hand afterwards very well. Old
Woodgate, a porter here, was hurt three or more times at this
station, and finally killed, while his son lost his arm a very little
time after. Inspector Watts was cut to pieces by a train, and
three months afterwards his son lost his ear and right arm, and
was nearly killed at this place. I suppose you will say it is the
effect of certain circumstances which occur in a machine like a
railway, precisely or nearly similar, acting on a peculiar sort of
mind, which is the same in father and son, and that the conduct
of the sufferers precipitates the catastrophe.
24/h, February, 1853. — Another death in the tunnel to-day —
a pig this time. The poor porker, strong in his own opinion,
dodged and dipped and escaped through the legs of the drovers
and men on the cattle platform, who used some pointed and
forcible arguments to induce him to alter his course ; but he
obstinately pursued his own line of policy; and while, in all
probability, he was congratulating himself on the distance
between him and his pursuers, an engine cut him in half.
wth March, 1853. — I went to the Great Western a few
evenings ago and missed my train. Having an hour to wait
I smoked a cigar and endeavoured to find out something
to amuse me; and I fell in with an old face — a grey, stout.
very civil, meek old man, by name Tom Calvert. Honest
Tom Calvert I have seen BelVs Life call him. But Tom was
a rogue and a hyprocrite. He bought old iron of our
stores department some ten years ago, kept a trotting mare,
drove a large business as a fish and fruit dealer, and was
well to do. His inclinations were sporting rather, and he had
been a fighting man in his youth. He knew all the " fancy " and
I think a few of the thieves about town. He bribed three or
four of our people — G. C. who has compounded with his creditors
and finally bolted, a defaulter, from his new employers; T. L., a
clever fellow, who loved brandy-and- water, and who, from two
or three excellent situations, has come down to be a journeyman
painter ; W., a decent man, who subsequently lost his berth, and
now holds the situation of potman at a public-house ; and M.,
a porter, who put his gains in the bank and is now a policeman.
These men used to make Calvert's bargains worth his money.
They delivered to him (for one trick) three or four tons of old
iron, when he only paid for one ton. Worthy Tom Calvert
married, and, getting tired of his wife, turned her off, and she
went raving mad. He now keeps an oyster stall at Paddington,
and talks of former days. You see that cheats really do not
always thrive, even here.
\2.th March, 1 85 3. — Wonderful men these detectives. They
dont find out everything, though ! One of our station-masters,
whom we suspected of mal-practices, wanted a new porter, and
it was thought that a detective would do well for the situation for
a little time. So Mr. detective went down and joined in the fun
of thieving, and other agreeable pastimes, and was considered a
nice man. They, however, put the poor fellow to carry sacks ot
corn, which proved ''too much " for a slight young London thief-
taker, and so he hastened the accomplishment of his mission,
and the result is that the station-master and all the porters,
save one, will be discharged off'-hand as soon as a staff" can be
organised to march into the garrison. Somehow I don't like
this work. It doesn't seem English, and it is just possible that
the most diabolical villainy may be practised under it some day.
* *e * * * * *
Another week is closed for ever. To look forward how,
fresh and new and long the week to come appears! To look
back, how brief, how unsatisfactory ! Who would recall it ? I
have no desire to do so. Hoping- and resolving-. I yearn for the
future alone. Some may say "Give me again the past and I will
do better ; " but I know I should not. When the goal is reached
and the race of time draws to a close with me, I shall rejoice.
Breathless, and sadly soiled with the journey, I shall rejoice to
have the opportunity of casting my burden at the foot ot the
cross and of entering into rest.
It is a weary world. The good are secluded. One appears
now and then amidst the thick battle of life, but for the most
part they do not jostle on the mart. As the struggling crowd
thrusts out its bruised and wounded, the good people of the world
pick them up and pour oil into their wounds ; but their gentle
voices are not heard amid the shout and the din, the angry curses,
the distorted faces, and raised arms. If they were to come into
the thick of the strife, they would find such wicked, wicked men —
liars, oppressors, cheats, clothed in fine cloth and respectability ;
grey hairs, with worldly cruel hearts ; trickery marked in solemn
protestation and virtuous indignation ; thieves on a grand scale,
witnessing against starving pilferers " for the benefit of society ; "
grinders of the poor " compelled by competition " to outrage
their grieved consciences : grinders of the poor, also not so much in
pocket as in unfeeling wanton words, as though no human
heart could beat without the gold watch ticking by it, and the
costly waistcoat covering it.
\\th March, 1853. — Our clergyman is pitching into the
Sunday opening of the Crystal Palace, and I am of his opinion.
Who says that the masses will go to Sydenham and invigorate
their bodies with fresh air and their minds by the contemplation
of Nature and art .? I^know the British working-man too well to
think that when he is "out" he will do anything so tame; and
as a proof that my opinion is not singular, the public-houses
within a short distance of the place are rising in value 200 or 300
percent. The railway officials will be kept at work; the traffic in
cabs will be increased ; young lads and men will go on the spree ;
servant-girls and other young women will go there and be led
astray. The artisan and his wife and bairns will drag down
there and perhaps enjoy their picnic, but they will spend their
boot and shoe money and get home tired. Don't tell ! — as the
Yankees say. At Sydenham it will be no church all day. At
home there's a chance. Besides, it's a step towards the wretched
state of France. Let us turn Puritans rather than that. Society
would be a chaos without religion, little though its influence may
sometimes appear; and without the observance of Sunday,
religion cannot be worked — to use a railway term. Let us keep
to the quiet Sunday. Temptations there are enough ; let us
make a stand against the application of capital to increase their
number. Investments must be scarce indeed, when rich and
quasi-moral-and-patriotic gentlemen speculate on the inclination
of the people to break the Sabbath. They cannot have lived
any time in the world and not know that the notion of elevating
the people's minds by a Sunday trip to their great show is a
humbug and a farce, and a direct violation of the Divine
command to keep the Sabbath holy. I believe that the nation
will incur a curse if the Sunday opening of this huge tea-garden
monopoly be sanctioned ; and I feel, as a humble member of the
community, that to permit this desecration will be gross
ingratitude for the Divine mercy towards our beloved land in
sparing us the infliction of civil convulsion, and in blessing us
with an unprecedented flow of prosperous commerce while the
countries around us have been visited with suicidal strife,
bloodshed, and annihilated liberties.
19M May, 1853. — A poor fellow, named Clarke, was knocked
under the wheels yesterday, by a sudden turn of his horse, and
although he had the presence of mind to save his life by roUing
under the waggon, the wheels went over his foot.
The Company are going to assist my two poor widows,
whose husbands were killed here. I think they will get £iO
each. One of them thinks of opening a lodging-house; the
other is too delicate to do much, and is a difficult subject. I am
the almoner, and I feel a great deal of conceit as I walk about
the poor streets visiting my patients. I should have been a
precious self sufficient hypocritical humbug if I had been a
parson ; I know 1 should.
24J/1 May, 1853. — I went to Exeter Hall last night to hear
Haydn's " Creation " — a wonderful composition. Mrs. Beecher
Stowe was there, and was much applauded on entering- and re-
tiring". She appears a delicate little woman. Two clergymen
accompanied her, and a black man — Uncle Tom, I suppose.
She took little notice of the sensation she created; a little
familiar sort of a bow, and exit.
2.2>th May, 1853. — I went to Epsom yesterday to see the
* Derby ' run, having- received a pressing invitation from some
friends to take a seat in their carriage. The day was bright and
pleasant, and its rays were reflected from a thousand cheerful
faces on the road — laughing and bantering as on they went —
every care cast behind. Then the roadside inn, raised from its
twelvemonth's stupour, and in astonishment at the sudden racket
in its inside, looked joyous notwithstanding ; while the " missis,"
and the daughter, and the young relation also had come to help,
and the London waiter, hired for the occasion, looked as spruce
and as fine as could be. We had first-rate cattle, and passed
nearly everything. We reached the course early, and obtained
a good position, close to the barrier and near the grand stand.
Thousands upon thousands were there, out among the green hills,
in God's country, bringing their seared and worldly hearts into
the beautiful province of Nature. I lay back in the carriage and
philosophised (it was after dinner and a glass of champagne),
and I thought of Waterloo and the two great armies. The mass
on the opposite hill, the cleared course between, and the solid
masses of people on our side were soon transformed into the two
contending armies; and I thought, en passant, how a little musket
firing would soon bring me on to my legs on the other side of the
vehicle. Instead of the popping of corks and the ring of laughter,
the boom of artillery and the groans of the wounded would, I
thought, alter the scene; and yet the light gallop of the noble
horses, the gaily-clothed jockey, the swearing turf-man, the cun-
ning thief, the clever conjuror, the blooming beauty, the fortune-
teller and the fortune-hearer, the water-carrier, the beggar, the
swell, the shoeblack, "three sticks a penny," and the policeman
on duty, together with my lolling lazy self, would as effectually
be carried away before sixty years hence as though the cannonade
had been heavy, and the carnage dreadful, and the glory great
So up I got and saw the Derby run; and in the midst of the race
I looked upon the mass of faces turned in eagerness on the strug-
gling group of flying horses. In an instant the white faces all
turned away, and black heads filled their places.
We had tea at the roadside inn as we returned ; and the
house appeared still more astonished, for the crowd had pene-
trated into the pretty back-garden where we had our tea. On
the way home our good horses kept up their pace and we arrived
in due time at our several destinations after a day of very delightful
15M June, 1853. — Yesterday up at 5.30, and to Willesden to
see our station clear of some special trains of troops going to
Staines by our South Western Junction. Then to Camden, to
clear some troops brought from the steamer at Blackwall, by our
Dock Junction, to Camden, for Weedon. To Haydon Square in
the afternoon, then to Moggs, the map makers, and then back to
work at Camden.
lothjune, 1853. — Half an hour's chat with poor Mrs. Essen.
She is very delicate, and frets still bitterly about her poor husband.
These two folks, in one room, married some two or three years
ago, but he failed to get work for nearly a twelvemonth, and they
parted with all they had. At length he fortunately obtained
employment on the railway, and they were so happy in their
little home, gathering back their valuables, one by one ; and
when he was made brakesman, how they thanked God for their
prosperity! for " he was a good young man and a kind husband,"
''always to his time," "smiling only if his dinner were not ready
through some accident; " and she prided herself on never letting
him come home to an unswept hearth. The last day he went
away he said, *' Good-bye, Eliza ; " and a nervous feeling made
her call him back to unsay the word, for it sounded unusual and
strange. He smiled and said, " What shall I say .? — Then fare-
well!" and so he went away, saying that he would be back to
tea in good time. But the tea-time came without him, and hours
passed away in awful doubt and fear, and then, weeping, she
went as far as the railway gate, and saw some men in earnest
talk with the gatekeeper, but she had no courage to ask for her
husband. Home she went again ; and when my messenger
asked at the door for Mrs. Essen, she exclaimed, "Is my dear
husband killed? Tell, oh, tell me, though it should kill me!"
Then like the wind she flew to the hospital, to her dying- partner
on his last bed — he sensible and breathing her name ; and when
she saw that death was on him she bade him pray to God, and
he replied, " Pray for me." Then the doctors forbade her to
stay any longer, and sent her home, which was very hard for her
to bear. With the dawn, after a sleepless night, she again
entered the hospital, only to learn that her husband was gone,
with his last accents naming his "dear wife."
22nd June, 1853. — I have just been superintending the turn-
ing in and unloading of the Leeds and Bradford goods ; such a
scuffle as it is ! — men and horses, with scrambling, and hooting,
and calling over and scribbling, and everyone in his shirt-sleeves,
and the horses perspiring. A few mornings ago a poor fellow
was seen looking for the top of his finger, which lay on the buffer
of a waggon. Terrible work ! The age lives too fast. Nothing
but top speed will satisfy the public. Every operation must be
performed in keeping with the railway speed, and the govern-
ment encouragement of competition in railways pushes the evil
to a climax. The race into the City every morning between the
Great Northern Company and us, with Leeds and Bradford
packs, is dangerous in the extreme.
The railway to Fenchurch Street from here will run trains
along our line, and the South Western junction out of it to Kew,
Brentford, &c., on the 1st August next. Look at the map, and
you will find that London will soon be "encompassed round
about " with rails — from Fenchurch to Camden, Camden to Nine
Elms, Nine Elms or thereabouts to the Crystal Palace (pro-
I had a row with a cabman last week. He agreed to take
my wife and me home from Tate's, and stopped short at the
Gloucester Road ; said his horse was restive, and wouldn't go in
the dark. I got out, and wouldn't pay him. He followed all
along the road with his cab, occasionally saying, *' Ah ! would
you ? " This was to his dunderhead horse, who enjoyed the
quiet walk, and had no more thought of being restive, poor
beast, than I have of becoming an opera-dancer. Then at my
gate we had a shindy. He wanted to come in, and I shoved him
out. I gave him a shilling-, and he took it with threats of a
summons next day if I didn't pay him more. I declined, and
closed the gate. In a few minutes all was as still as death — the
gas-lamp shone on the silent garden, the dog dosed, the white
blinds drawn down told of stretched-out forms within, and the
poor rats crept out of their holes to snatch the chickens' crumbs,
the steady tread of the policeman died away in the distance, and
the moon gazed down on all the town.
What do you think of our clergyman, Mr. G. ? He has
declined a living worth £i,ooo per annum, because he thinks
his work in this newly formed district is not finished. I rejoice
to think that he stops with us. His stipend is £350.
2ird July, 1853. — A glance at G.'s conduct gives me a
nudge, that other people too might be content without ambitious
hankerings after Canada, &c. ; that other people too have their
work to complete amongst weak brothers and destitute sisters,
and children worse than orphans ; and that running away from
it all may be deserting a sacred mission. Then ambition
whispers that increased means give increased power to help —
that money is better than sympathy — that, in rash attempts to
rescue, the hero and sinking are often both lost. Well! God
help us all ! If patience and endurance could be struck out of the
Christian's conditions, who would not wish to do some one great
good in acknowledgment of his Maker's mercies — and die .?
Quitting the weary battle where the Devil charges at the head of
his troops, now in the front and now in the rear, until the
Christian's little column of good resolutions., at some fatal
moment, fails to form the necessary square, and is crushed to the
earth and annihilated.
26th July, 1853. — I had a call from an old acquaintance,
A. R., who has a good business in the City. I learn a few
things from him, such as manoeuvres on 'Change, &c., which are
amusing to hear about; but, knowing him to be rather loose in
principle, I keep my hand on my sword all the time I am with
2(^th July, 1853. — Accidents on railways hunt in couples, or
packs, as I have often told you. A few days ago an axle broke
on the Trent Valley portion of our line. Last ni^ht a cattle
train smashed into a goods train on the same line. The night
before last a train of goods was shunted into this station before
the proper signal was given, and sent a loaded truck and a horse
attached to it topsy-turvy. '
isi August, 1853. — I was very busy all day on Saturday sell-,
ing salmon and meat and looking to the goods from a break-
down near Weedon on Friday night. An express train overtook
a long goods' train and ran into it. The engine of the goods,
56 waggons' length off, was knocked off the line and the engine-
driver sent head foremost into the coke; yet, strange to say,
three drovers in the goods guard's van, the hindmost vehicle,
asleep, escaped unhurt. The guard had not time to wake them..
He jumped off into a ditch, and the drovers were found rolled up
together like a ball of cotton. Nobody was injured except the
express fireman, w^ho had a nasty knock in the eye. The boxes
of salmon, however, and the bales of goods flew about all over
the premises. Three bullocks, also, turned a somersault out of
a cattle waggon and for the moment felt a little surprise, but
finding the grazing pretty good on the slope where they fell,
they appeared to like the change and were discovered making
the best of their opportunity.
* * * * * #
Touching total abstinence from drink for example's sake.
It would do good, doubtless, even one case would be a sufficient
success. But the difTiculties of such a resolution are very great.
Many a friend, many an acquaintance, many a pleasant hour
stolen from care by the exhilarating glass would be lost. The
jocund laugh would be exchanged for the quiet smile ; and with
the cccasional morning's headache would go the evening's
happy interchange of good fellowship. Men extract the happi-
ness of many hours, and live it out in one, over the generous wine
or the cheering grog. Virtue is its own reward ; health and a
more general and thinly spread enjoyment is experienced by the
abstinent man, and thrown into his bargain is an approving
conscience, to light him heavenward. For my part, knocking
about with railway people, I feel it would be next to impossible
to turn my back upon the poison altogether. I have a serious
desire, however, to keep it as far away as possible, considering-
the awful effect of its excessive use. It is certain that a moderate
use of drink is a difficult and dangerous position to hold ; like
table-turning, one begins to move faster and faster until it
becomes a labour to pull up.
9M August^ 1853. — I have been up to my eyes in bother the
last few days. One of my clerks had leave, and the clerk who
did his duty fell sick, and a third placed to the work got drunk.
Then I had much trouble in disposing of the corpse of a titled
lady sent to us by the South Western Company for Carlisle.
Then two waggons were upset on the line, and a sudden increase
of business crammed up the station, and the new Kew trains
stopped and hindered our work, and the engine turntable broke
and caused all the passenger engines to cross our lines, and
waggons and tarpaulins grew scarce, and I ate some cucumber
and made myself ill, and some boys attempted to get over our
garden wall and steal our apples, and some beef I bought went
bad, and my potatoes took the disease, and a schoolfellow
bothered me for a berth, and a new boot gave me a corn, and
bread rose to 8|d. per loaf, and the butcher's book struck me all
of a heap, and another smash occurred to a goods train at
wth August^ 1853. — Thieves are pilfering the goods from
our waggons here to an impudent extent. We are at our wits'
end to find out the blackguards. Not a night passes without
wine hampers, silk parcels, drapers' boxes, or provisions being
robbed ; and if the articles are not valuable enough they leave
them about the station. A roll of chintz was found on the station
this morning ; of course mistaken at first sight for silk, but on
tearing the paper the plunderer discovered it to be chintz and
threw it away in disgust. I wish he would send in his claim for
his loss of time. He should be paid in full.
\2.th August, 1853. — In yesterday's Times you will see the
continuation of a paper about a French Commission on War. I
have not read the preceding article, but in this it is amusing to
read how neatly the Gallic cock disposes of us poor English.
He talks of cooking our goose with the utmost ease ; but
Monsieur will have to get another pair of breeches before he
takes the wind out of our little men who '' go down to the sea in
ships," and after he has licked them and got on shore he won't
find it quite such pleasant walking as in the gardens of the
Tuilleries. We should manage to keep him on the alert. Then
you would see young Stevenson at the head of his Camden
Station Irregulars, slaughtering the enemy and bathed in their
blood; and when the fight was done behold him decorated with
the Garter and elevated to a dukedom, say of Montrose, &c., &c.
17/^ August, 1853. — A friend has just asked my opinion on a
private matter. I believe we all consult our own inclinations and
decide in the main, in most cases, before we appeal to the wisdom
of our friends. How high our estimation of their judgment it
they approve ! how deep our suspicion of their motives if they
18M August, 1853. — I am continually bothered with my men.
Some resign to emigrate, some get drunk and are discharged,
and others are hurt. There is a difficulty in obtaining strong
fellows who read and write, and can lead a horse for our night
and day work. The sturdy fellows, too, are as independent as
possible. Work is plentiful, and the new land of prom.ise so
desirable a resource, that we have to pet our good hands.
By-and-by, I shall have to lift my hat and say, " Oh, Mister
John Porter, will you do me the favour to turn that waggon ?
Thank you. Pray take care of yourself there ; and, John Porter,
sir, would you like to take Mrs. J. P. and the family down the
line on Sunday? I shall be happy to pass you. And, John, it
there should be anything nice in the train, amongst the goods,
which you would like to have, pray help yourself. I wish you to
feel quite comfortable and unrestrained." It is fast coming
to this ; and if John Porter gets drunk, instead of dismissing the
honest fellow, I shall have to say, " Why, John, my boy, you've
had a little beer! Allow me to fetch a cab, and if you feel ill
to-morrow, you need not hurry in the morning."
19/A August, 1853. — I had along argument last night with
Mr. R., a pale-faced vegetarian. I have seldom met with so
clear-headed and clever a man. Politics, natural philosophy,
finance, medicine, — he is fluent in all ; and his opinions on most
subjects comprehend the bearings of the matter in such a grasp
that his judgment seems unerring-. Such is the perspicuity of
his remarks and reasoning-, that one is incHned to confidence
in his conclusions. He announced his disbehef in the existence of
the Devil, in eternal punishment, in Christ's actually fasting- forty
days, in the Devil's placing- Christ on a pinnacle of the temple, or
an exceeding high mountain, to behold all the kingdoms of the
world. He treated the whole as figurative; Eve's temptation by
a serpent, as it is narrated, he laughed at as an absurd fable,
taken literally. Tell me this : is it anywhere commented upon as
to the manner in which it became known to the evangelists that
Christ so fasted, and was tempted ? I shall be glad if you can
give me a reference to any book which meets liberally and fairly
the objections of this sort, which will arise in one's mind, not-
withstanding that the regular orthodox churchman will not
condescend to notice their existence.
22nd August, 1853. — I reached Weedon about six o'clock on
Saturday evening, and proceeded with Charlie and two of his
friends in a dog-cart, thirty-five miles across country to
Stratford-on-Avon. The ride was delightful. We baited twice
on the journey, and as we rode through Leamington and
Warwick, I recognised the places where, seven years ago, my
wife and I strolled in the enjoyment of our honeymoon. By ten
o'clock we had our legs under the supper-table of Charlie's
friend, Mr. Hartley, proprietor of the Golden Lion hotel. Mine
host is a jolly fellow, a good singer, and has such floods of
anecdotes, told with all the manner and wit of an accomplished
actor. Hartley is a celebrated comedian for a hundred miles
round, and might have an engagement in London immediately,
if he chose, but he finds the Golden Lion suits him better. He
is one of five sons of a schoolmaster, who died when they were
all young, except the eldest, and he only eighteen years of age.
This young man kept on the school, and brought up the family.
All the brothers dined with us yesterday, and a good dinner and
a good bottle of wine we had — and roars of laughter. In the
morning we visited the church, saw the tomb of the bard, and
went thence to the house where Ann Hathaway, Shakespeare's
wife, resided. A descendant of the Hathaway' s showed me an
old bedstead, and the kitchen where Will did his courting. We
started at seven, and drove back to Weedon. A pipe, and a
chat with CharUe's wife, and then to bed ; not, however, before
Charlie and I had rushed out with the poker to some imaginary
thieves, who turned out to be the dog pitching into a birch-broom,
and nearly choking himself. A train brought me home this
morning by eleven o'clock, to hosts of papers, and the usual
The lines proceed, the pages fill —
And tell the hues of life's swift thread ;
Soon will it cease, the pen be still.
The hand that guides it, cold and dead.
st September, 185 3. — -You and I, in common with all other
men of fixed income, will be the sufferers if corn becomes scarce
and provisions rise still higher than their present disagreeable
rate. Thank God, the prospect of a war is more remote than it
was ; but the singular blights now apparent in potatoes, grapes,
and other products, the strange weather of the last eight months,
and the introduction of so much gold, together with the emigra-
tion of our miners and sailors, and other men of thews and
sinews, all proclaim that an extraordinary epoch is coming. The
mighty billows of Time are rolling on, in the palm of the
Wonderful Creator. We tiny, but not unnoticed or forgotten
mites, in the boundless scheme, may go on with our work — I to
my merchandise and you to your souls — always remembering,
amid discouragement and difficulty, that *' He that goeth forth
and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again
with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him."
2ist September, 1853. — At a trial at Westminster. It would
make your heart bleed to see some of the wretched criminals and
their heart-broken friends. I saw several respectable-looking
young men, from eighteen to twenty-five years of age, well-
dressed and intelligent, tried for embezzling, pilfering, (fee-
Some overwhelmed with a sense of their disgraceful position ;
others scowling at their weeping friends in the Court ; and one
clever young man, who defended himself with eloquence and
talent, but who was convicted of having pursued a system of
embezzlement for four years. Oh I for some miraculous specific
to cure all crime and sorrow ; to make all people good ; to
render the judge and the advocate, the detective, the gaoler, and
the criminal, things of the past ; to banish temptation and take
away the staircase of error and sin by which men descend, step
by step, to perdition! Simply let us say, ''Thy Kingdom
2^th September, 1 85 3. — My solemn oration on the decease of
Mr. Samuel Warren would probably amuse that gentleman. All
you say of the two authors, now that you mention it, comes up in
my memory as something I knew well before but had forgotten.
I have read the " Diary of the Late Physician," and " Ten
Thousand a Year," and have heard of the other man's ''Crescent
and the Cross," and cannot think how I could confuse the two
persons. But what have I to do with your novels and polite
literature .? Don't I live in a real, tragic, comic, stirring drama —
more strange than any fiction; Don't my heroes and heroines
keep me wide awake ? Is there not an absorbing act continually
on the stage, — parcels, porters, and the public, horses, carts,
correspondence, careless clerks, and curious coincidences, &c.,&c..?
What, then, have I to do with your literature ? Pshaw, Sir ! I am
one of your philosophers, who distil their own ingredients to
manufacture the elixir of life, and don't buy them at the apothe-
cary's. I take my stones from the quarry, not from the
picturesque ruins of another man's building. At least, this is a
good excuse for my ignorance of the belles letires. Am I not a
mysterious work myself.? Have I yet read myself? Have I
sufficiently studied that portion of the book which will live for
ever ? Can I reflect on the pages of my existence which I have
scampered through, without a painful and absorbing interest ?
And when the time comes for me to return the book to the Giver,
shall I not with shame review the thumbed and soiled leaves, and
deserve a terrible award for my unprofitable use of it ?
4/A October, 1853. — The swelling river shines solemnly in the
sunlight, and on its trusty bosom, the mariner cunningly shifts
the sails of his craft, using the fickle wind to take his treasure
far up the stream to the busy port ; while he, and the many
mighty ships which join him on the way, bearing the varied
produce of the world, meet the many others outward bound, and
make a busy scene. Ride we in the eager steamboat, full of
tired human beings fleeing- from their toil. The thread-bare
tunes from harp and violin engage the crowd, while such as you
and I lean over the bulwarks, and gaze on the surrounding
spectacle. When first I looked on yonder shore, taken to
Gravesend on a cockney jaunt, I was a wan, and spare, and tiny
boy, and that great house was building for one, 'twas said, who
had been a lawyer and had defended thieves, and, having gained
great civic honours, and a princely fortune, was rearing that
great dwelling there, to end his days in. Since that time, my
friend, what deaths I have seen — what poverty, what sickness,
what changes in circumstance and feeling — what friendships I
have formed, what love requited, what errors committed ! Now
just heaves in view a pretty hamlet. The church and red-roofed
houses, quay and pier and mill, look cheerful, nestling beneath
chalk cliffs and verdant hills, with dotted woodlands here and
there. Surely peace and industry must here combine, and
happiness and Christian charity; no scandal, no tyranny, no
vice of any kind ! Prithee, step on shore and see.
* * o * * * *
Oh ! my Turnbull, come back to Whitchurch, where at least
sovie virtue may be found !
'jth Ocioher, 1 85 3. — The ball-room at Chalk Farm Tavern is
no more. It has been taken down to make way for some new
houses. And, so, farewell, thou scene of gents and dirty muslin !
At one time, I suppose, greater swells frequented the place —
white kids, cravats, and well-cut coats, and fair forms charmingly
arrayed ; but they all went their way, and of late years
" sixpenny hops " have made night hideous there, — soldiers and
servant maids, dirty drabs, and dangerous "young fellers" in
curious clothing, with short pipes and wonderfully unclean
hands, — such a set ! and they, too, are all gone !
gth October, 1853. — At Euston Station last night the engine
ran against a signalman, and, catching him in the back and
neatly lodging his hat on the buffer-beam, sent him flying. He
fell not on the rails, but between them, and escaped with whole
bones. Now, that is what I call a close shave. These things
make one nervous for a day or two. A sharp shunt or a shout,
and the swish of the engine, when one is between our numerous
lines, makes the heart leap into ^the mouth and the lips hold
tight, particularly at night.
13/A October^ 185 3- — What a pucker the local authorities are
all in about the cholera ! I see one placard, amongst other
things, recommends the people of London never to drink any
but pure water. That is waggish, and we shouldn't joke when
the cholera is coming.
I am taking an hour's ride on horseback again every day
when the weather permits. The woods and trees around
Hampstead are donning the russet suit again.
Again untiring Autumn brings the golden leaves,
And clothes the trees in beauty ere it leaves them bare;
So He who shed His blood between the thieves
Was first with grandeur decked in robe ot purple rare.
But, as He rose, — though leafless boughs too soon they'll be,
Left to the sport and scorn of every passing wind,
A drear and bitter season over, they will see
Return of hopeful life to cheer and bless mankind.
\%th October, 1 85 3. — I paid a visit yesterday afternoon to the
Hanwell Lunatic Asylum. As soon as we had passed the door
and stood on the well staircase of the interior, amid many iron
bars, made as cheerful as possible with light blue paint, I felt we
were inside a madhouse. Squatted in unlikely places and in
uncomfortable and unexpected attitudes, poor demented women
met the view, staring, simpering, smiling, giggling, declaiming,
or swearing; and others, equally sad to see, absorbed in silent
madness. In the refractory wards higher up — for the large well
staircase has several landings, with wards opening upon each —
there were creatures in petticoats, with stubbly hair and distorted
ill-shapen faces, lounging about and raving and blaspheming if
spoken to. Others made absurd noises ; others twiddled their
fingers as though playing the flute. One poor wretch was gobbling
exactly like a turkey, and another informed me that she (the
gobbler) was " always at it," — "it was strange, but do what she
would with her, she would make that noise," — "now, for her
part, her uncle's name was Herring, and her own name was
Thatcher." Poor Thatcher ! They said she was a hard-working
well-disposed patient. A lady in checked clothing offered me
some bread, and another asked me if I was for England and
Victory ; while a third woke up from a deep reverie, as she sat,
tailor-fashion, on her bed, and cursed me lustily. One demanded
whom I had come to see, and then consig-ned me to perdition.
An old woman — I noticed that most of the women were old — was
performing some tragic and by no means ungraceful gestures,
with denunciation of an awful kind against some person best
known to herself. She was, however, locked up before she had
concluded, and there her tongue was let loose. The young
woman who was her keeper said, " She never strikes. AH"
noise." In a small ward an old respectable-looking lady said
that her heart was broken and had been so a long, long time ;
and in the next breath, in reply to a contradiction, she exclaimed,
*'No, certainly not; if my heart were broken I shouldn't be
here." When reminded that she had just stated before that her
heart Z£;^j broken, she replied, "Ah, I said so. I say a many
things ! " I think there are many people at large as insane as
this respectable old woman. I found one wild-looking female
standing behind me with a handful of knives, which rather
surprised me, to say the least of it ; but, on examination, the
implements proved to be harmless, only about an inch or so of
the blade being at all sharp, and the remainder the sixteenth of
an inch in thickness. I enquired if the mad folks knew that these
were different from ordinary knives. The keeper smiled and
replied, ''Quite well. In fact, they know almost everything, even
to the shame of being in a madhouse." A very mad lady-like
woman, with remains of much beauty, said, in answer to the
keeper, that she was much better, as must be clear to her, for
otherwise she would have been unable to move. This patient
was said to be highly accomplished. In the matron's dining-
room we found a nice-looking old person. On seeing me look
at the portrait of Dr. Connolly, which hung in the room, she broke
out into fervent admiration of the man. "Ah, sir! every insane
person should pray for that good man. I have been here fifteen
years and can remember the time when an iron belt and chain
fastened us to the wall and we were treated cruelly. Many, many
years was that good gentleman trying to get the system altered,
and he succeeded at last." The keeper told us that this was all
true, but that the old person who had addressed us had been
getting rather worse in her malady lately. All praise to the good
and great man who created such a feeling* of gratitude in a
madwoman's heart ! A look into another ward, where a ' Queen '
sitting- in state at one end of the table, and an old wretch, who
cursed the keeper for asking- for her beer, at the other ; and this
finished the female side.
The men were more orderly. They were sitting- about on
seats, some reading-, others smoking-. One crept behind my
friend and tried to pinch his leg-, but this was in a refractory
ward, and was the only instance of the kind we saw. The men
looked worst in the epileptic ward, bloated, spooney, heavy.
The other wards contained some fine, handsome young- men,
with hig-h foreheads. Many of them touched their hats and rose
as we passed. One man told me that he and his brothers had
had some money left them, and that it worried him and they sent
him there ; " now, wasn't that a hard case ? " Another — a fine
old man-of-war's man — gave me an account of their having
taken away his pension and shoved him in there ; and another
interrupted him with the consoling remark that it was '' only for
life, Bill." The men bake, brew, make all the clothes and shoes
and bedding, print, and perform, in short, all the labour of the
Are you tired of this long rigmarole about insanity.? Well,
what is your opinion on the subject.? I am inclined to believe the
theory of the man who made out that we were all mad. The
madhouses only contain the worst cases. Most of the people at
Hanwell seem to have the string of their ideas cut, and all
their thoughts kicking about in their brains anyhow. There
are few of us, I fear, who have the string very loose some-
times, and the notions get into the most improper places in our
noddles occasionally. We sane folks who pity our poor mad
brethren so complacently ! In the Asylum one lunatic laughs at
his companion's delusion, but goes stark with his own. What are
we doing out of the Asylum — in the pulpit, on the platform, in
the press .? Why, laughing at each other's delusions and going
into our own "like mad." What is more insane than the pro-
pensity to do just what we know to be evil, in spite of the warn-
ings of conscience, and to incur Divine vengeance for the sake of
a few years of feverish neglect of God's commands.?
2^h September, 1853. — All the past week our station has been
in a mess. Goods accumulating, agents neglectful, reports,
denials, proofs, waggons off the line, pilferages, indignant public,
wonderful influx of potatoes from the north, remonstrance with
general manager on the filthy state of the station, brakesmen
crushed between the buffers, alteration of trains, new regulation
to put detonating fog-signals several hundred yards in the rear
of any train coming to a stand on the line, in addition to using
the hand signal (this in consequence of the Irish accident), sick-
ness amongst the porters, sickness amongst the horses.
25M October, 1853. — In the extreme state of insanity, women
are the more noisy and gesticulatory of the two sexes ; and the
peculiarity ascends the scale. The most sensible woman is a
greater scold than her parallel companion, the most sensible man.
When a man is talkative and violent in his remonstrances,
appears to me a mark of effeminacy. The calm and dignified
manner, the few pointed words of biting reproof, or earnest
exhortation, are the attributes of a man.
2'jth October, 1853. — Some of the clerks here are getting up
a Mutual Instruction and Discussion Society. We have a small
Reading Room in Pickford & Co.'s department, and I met the
clerks last night and read to them a little paper as a sort of
inaugural address. In it I contrasted the present aspect of our
station and its surroundings with the green fields and lanes
which formerly occupied the site — the peaceful rural scene where
the modest daisy raised its face to the sun, the violet shed its
perfume, and the lark ascended with its morning song to heaven.
I showed how much we were indebted to the labours of our
ancestors, and spoke of the duty attaching to each one of us to
cultivate our own minds, and thereby, in a humble way, to help
forward the general progress of our country and of the human
^h November, 1853. — I was in the City yesterday and this
morning. As a novelty there is much to contemplate in the
commencement of a City morning. About 7 or 8 a.m. the
outskirts of the great hive of the insect called Man is all alive in
the upper rooms, with the said insect in his shirt sleeves, applying
a bright sharp instrument to his chin. Then thousands of them
.descend the stairs, rave about, put on boots, eat and drink some-
thing, and sally forth. Then a race commences towards the
centre of the Hive ; and away they pour, some riding, some on
foot, — thicker and closer; mingling, at length, with the dirty
dwellers in that place towards which they are rushing. As they
thicken, and drop off at the little cells where they stop all day,
you may see their faces grow more grave ; and although in the
throng you might take them to be all of one species, an inspection
of a few of the cells would show you that there are many degrees
among them. See the "great" man in that inner cell lecturing
the younger insect on the evils of dissipation. Well, — they were
both drunk last night, — one at his own table with wine, the other
at a tavern, on gin and water. See that stout old insect crawling
into yonder cell. He meets one of the dirty dwellers, — a female
of the species. He tells her that times are hard and prices low,
and that he can't give her more than sixpence per dozen for
But there are the good cells, where excellent things are done
all day long, by rich but hard-working men, who keep up the
gradual improvement of the great hive. What a morning's walk
we could take together, meditating on these things.
2ird November^ 1 853. — You will smile when I tell you that I am
on the paper in the Reading-room of our little Society for " A few
remarks on Geology." Of course! What do you mean by
jeering ? Didn't I study under Professor Sedgwick at the
University of Cambridge ? Didn't I listen to that learned man for
a whole hour one wet day ? What do you say 1 A mere compilation ?
Well, suppose it be, as far as technicalities go ; is there anything
new under the sun .? At any rate the reflections and remarks will
be my own, and that is all that I announce. Be off. Bob ; don't
2'jih April, 1854. — The day's work is over. The papers are
cleared away or stowed under weights, to rest during the
darkness. The clerks are gone, the office sounds hollow, and the
calm evening invites me to take my departure. I hasten away»
The pause on this restless place will be brief. The night clerks,,
porters, horses, and engines will soon be here, to pull and haul
and shriek and shout and hurry and drive.
10th April, 1854. — In some moments a blessed hope illumines
my mind, and I believe confidently that, when this world of sin
and sorrow and disappointment shall close on my view for ever,
a sweet voice of forgiveness and mercy will ring- joyfully in my
ear ; that Jesus Christ will wash my polluted soul from sin ; that
that wonderful sacrifice — that almost incredible system of
unbounded love will be realised by me. Hasten, O happy hour I
Who could not long- that the shadows mig-ht thicken for a
moment, to be dispelled for ever ? Who would not be eager to
exchange this world, how blessed soever it may be, for that glorious
land, the splendour of which eye hath not seen and the heart ot
man cannot conceive ? Think of purity and glory and brightness
and love, unalloyed and unfading for ever.
^h May, 1854. — Last night I dined at the Hanover Square
Rooms with no end of parsons. One of the cloth got very * tight.'
He d — d everybody and nearly punched my head. He's
repenting at his leisure this morning, I reckon. The Bishop of
Chester made a good speech— a little too long perhaps. The
dinner was not the best I ever sat down to, and there was great
uproar in getting the hats and coats, coming out. The parsons,
who are no doubt nearly all unseasoned casks, were very
16M May, 1854. — George Campbell felt his feet very cold the
other night, and said so, and got up and wrapped himself in
warmer clothes; but the fire was flickering within, though he
knew it not, and the poor old man died while dressing himself
in the morning. He was a random talking old fellow, and
irreligious apparently; but who knows how far he outraged his
conscience, under the impression that it was necessary to suit his
conversation to his hearers, whom he thought irreligious ? Who
shall say what passed between himself and God, in the quiet hour
when the world was shut out and conscious guilt and fear accused
him on his knees ?
^th June, 1854. — What a long correspondence I have had
with the Countess of about the threepences charged for her
empty baskets ! I had a few notes last year, but this year she
has gone on anyhow. There's more bother about a nobleman's
vegetables, or a parson's wife's new cap, sent by luggage train
than about all the provisions for the fleet or ten thousand bales
for China. You aristocrats ought to send by passenger train
only. Why, your butler or your cook prigs more in a week than
would pay for the vegetable basket or the hamper of foul linen for
twelve months. And yet the portly Samuel and Mrs. Dripping
escape, while we Railway innocents are called extortionists, and
cheats, and monopolists, and get abused in the most fearful terms,
but generally in pure grammar.
2^thjune, 1854. — Bells in steeples don't like playing tunes.
They do it evidently under protest, — especially the sacred tunes.
There are our Hampstead bells, now. They struggle through
the familiar psalm-tunes in a most agonising manner. The quick
notes are not at all solemn ; they have a ' nix my dolly, pals '
inclination which outrages one's sense of propriety. Since the
man greased one of the slowest sacred airs, the other day, and it
darted off, to his horror, at polka pace, the notes have settled
down into respectable time ; but the clergyman had better have
left the steeple to play **Peas and Beans," as it used to do until
he was scandalised by the secular sounds ; for the alteration to
sacred tunes exclusively is a dead failure.
6th July, 1854. — I am very much down in the dumps. I find
myself inclined to grumble at everyone, and when anything turns
up that gives me a reasonable opportunity to grumble with a fair
cause, why, I go in and win. Win, did I say ? No, I don't win
much ; I leave off worse tempered than before. I have heard of
a sea-captain who used to retire occasionally and have half-
an-hour's hard swearing by himself, in which he is said to have
found great relief. I haven't tried this.
I ith Julyt 1854. — ^On Sunday I dined with a friend at Watford
and enjoyed a delightful walk to Stanmore and Bushey Heath.
My friend's aunt, an old lady, lives in a picturesque cottage near
his house, and the indentical ' Mr. Dick ' lives with her. He is an
old chap now,— off his head, as our nurse calls it. He dosen't
chink his money, as Dickens tells; but if they give him any he
throws it away instanter. He likes to be talked to, and listens
to conversation, and makes comical noises when he laughs ; but
he seldom says anything except ' yes ' or * no.' He is rich, and
his brother, w^ho is also his heir, thinks he will soon die, but
Mr. Dick seems inclined to hang on sturdily. Now, whether
Dickens ever stumbled across this ' Mr. Dick ' or not, I cannot
tell ; but his name is Dick, and the similarity of the characters
in name and intellect and other things is singular.
Last night, after I was used-up at the station, I strolled to
Hampstead. There were the omnibuses, and the rough fellows
at the end of Flask Walk, and the Station-house, and Hankin's,
and George Kerrison, who looks older, talking to Cornick, the
man who has Watson's shop ; and there was Livock's Alley ; and
there the place where the garden used to be, — for they have built
a house in it, which you will be surprised to learn. The poor new
house appears to feel its false position; the whole thing looks
uncomfortable. The calm evening resting tranquilly on the
fresh green undulating landscape, the stillness heightened by the
cowboys' call to the cattle, and the gratification which one always
feels at gazing upon a wide expanse far out, had a sweet effect
on my mind; and the railway clerk forgot, for the moment,
his station, and thought pure thoughts full of aspiration, beyond the
toil and struggle of the city at his back, and, but the fever
I lately had has made me spooney, I think, at times.
iSthJuly, 1854. — My wife and I, and three of the bairns, are
staying at Heme! Hempstead, near Boxmoor station. The ride
to and from Camden daily is doing me good. There are
beautiful walks in the neighbourhood of the town, and we shall
all benefit by the change. Hemel Hempstead is a quiet place,
with about 8,000 inhabitants, who retire to bed at 10 p.m. They
have public-houses, but the publicans go to church like christians,
and nobody appears to get drunk. The church is a Norman
edifice, with a fine spire. Inside there is a hideous gallery, and
the organ is a bad one ; but there are two good stained-glass
windows. When the creed is said, people and priest turn to the
communion table — which ought to be announced beforehand to
strangers seated in the chancel, as they suddenly find themselves
turned round upon by the whole congregation, which is em-
barrassing. There is an absurd old countryman, with a queer-
shaped head, and a dissipated-looking white choker, who will
stare about the church, and who holds in his hand a stick with a
sort of cruet on the top of it. Apart from these eccentricities,
the church on Sunday is a pleasing- sight. How many years the
sun has shone through those old windows on the same scene,
though the actors have been replaced over and over again !
What a serious moral those venerable walls seem to preach !
20th July, 1854. — The Hemel Hempstead straw-plaiters are
to be met with all over the town. They talk, and walk, and look
about, and loiter, and listen, while their fingers all the time spin
away at the straw, turning it into plaits fit for sewing into
bonnets. Women, old and young, lovers and wives, and little
children, are all engaged in this manufacture, and you find
them at work in all sorts of places — at the cottage doors, at the
corners of streets, in Sir Astley Cooper's beautiful park, by the
stream, in the fields, and by the fire-side. It is said that the
young women grow up to be bad wives, and that the little
children make dirty plait, which fetches a low price.
There is a service at the church here every day, but I am
told that the clergyman's wife is very often the only person
present besides his Reverence.
Have you read Mrs. Crowe's "Night-side of Nature?" —
such a book about ghosts ! Take care that you do not see my
double walk into your premises some of these days. Certain it
is that if the spirit lingers near those whom the heart has es-
teemed, mine is very likely to pay you a visit ere it wings its
flight. Well, it isn't pleasant to meet the ghost of the dearest
friend if one steps into the garden after dusk ; so, we'll drop the
subject, and hope that nothing of the kind will happen.
Afth August, 1854. — Yesterday my friend, Mr. Taylor, of the
Steam Flour Mill adjoining Camden Station, took me to his house
in the country to dinner. I popped away at three o'clock, and
we reached Rickmansworth, four miles from Watford station,
about 4.30. I was driven up a beautiful avenue of trees, into a
square space, bounded on two sides by an Elizabethan mansion,
and on the other two by trees and a stream of water, across
which there is a pretty view of the church and a wood. Surprised
— for I had expected to find quite a different kind of dwelling — I
walked through the spacious oaken hall and into the panelled
dining-room, and then into the drawing-room, and shook hands
with ^the miller's two young daughters and their governess.
Dinner wouldn't be ready for an hour or more, so I consented to
my friend's proposal to take a turn in the grounds, g-lad of the
opportunity of examining the fine old place. It had been for
centuries the manor-house of a family of the name of Whitfield,
who gradually sold their land and died out, leaving the house
and some acres around in Chancery. My friend bought the
house, and twenty-five or thirty acres, and had the misfortune to
lose his wife just as he was about to remove to the beautiful
place. He occupies about half the house ; the remaining rooms
are empty and silent — the very air of them seems mournful
Wide staircases, sprawling hinges, stained-glass windows, oak
carving, gables outside and mysterious passages within, contrast
strangely with the homely habits of the occupants — yet I question
much if the shining panels of the large dining-room ever looked
down upon a better scene than that in which the honest old
gentleman took the principal part, when he read aloud a chapter
from the Bible to his daughters, their governess, and myself.
His sonorous voice gave forth the Holy Words with an impres-
sive emphasis, befitting his venerable appearance. During the
prayer which followed, a stranger, gazing through the window
from without, might have supposed the miller, with his grey hair
and white neckcloth, to be the family chaplain ; while the
kneeling forms of the daughters and their governess, with those
of your David and the two servants, filled up a consistent back-
ground. I slept in an immense room. The great bed of Ware
could not have been larger than the enormous concern towards
which I journeyed after putting out the light on the huge dressing-
table. I slept soundly. Whether the restless spirits of any ot
the Whitfield family hovered about the room I know not. The
witching hours passed over, and I awoke when the bell rang. I
had a brisk walk to my clothes on the chair, and thence to the
washstand, which gave me an appetite for my breakfast.
\yh August, 1854. — The strike of the drivers has harassed
us immensely this week. It is a mistake, however, to suppose
that they are skilled mechanics. When railways first commenced
skilled mechanics drove the engines, but they gradually left the
employment, and now a cleaner becomes a fireman and then a
driver. A few months' experience gives them the requisite
knowledge, which is much more simple than people suppose.
A terrible accident occurred last night on our Fenchurch
Street Branch. The last train of goods from Haydon Square
came to a stand for want of water, on an inclined plane at High-
bury. The engines ran away for a supply, the men in charge
thinking that the waggons would remain stationary. Unfortunately,
however, the waggons ran back and met an advancing passenger
train full tilt. The driver of the passenger train was killed on
the spot. The hreman is not expected to recover, and one of my
number-takers has also little chance of recovery. Four or five
men in the break-van of the goods train escaped by a jump at the
last moment, and the van was knocked into a complete smash —
to use a moderate expression. Yet, with all this, the passengers
escaped with a few bruises — an extraordinary result.
i(^h August, 1854. — Years ago I climbed the coke-oven
chimney shaft here. It was newly built, and was esteemed a
wonder. Three towering shafts marked Camden Station, from
whatever point round London one viewed the prospect. Two
of these long since sank into a heap of bricks. This week the
last of our landmarks was hauled down, and a few minutes and
a ''hurrah!" restored the column of air it had so long displaced.
2.0th August, 1854. — Well, here I sit in tranquility, after a
week of more than usual bustle and excitement. The events
which have occurred, death from disease and accident, and
change of all kinds, bring my thoughts at this moment to the
text of vScripture " My times are in Thy hand." How terrible,
yet how consoling, is this truth! How universal, yet how in*
dividually applicable ! The nations of the earth may cry peace,
and in the pride of a vaunted civilisation, say, " Behold our
mighty progress, the work of our hands ! " — but God, in whose
hand their times are, may prove there is no peace. National sin
is visited, and the great design of the Creator is carried forward.
The pursuit of medical science may be so successfully prosecuted
that mankind becomes almost exempt from violent suffering,
when, behold, a scourge appears, to baffle all remedy and
puzzle the most skilful and profound efforts of human aid, —
bringing the boasting creature to confess that his times are in
the hands of his Creator. Send forth the reapers, O, favoured
England, into thy overladen fields, swelling- with their luxuriant
crops of golden food ; humbly thrust in the sickle and with
g-rateful heart gather into thy garners the blessed harvest;
and, while the manly voices of the toiling sons rend
the air with rejoicing that the last load is secured, let
thy swelling heart confess that lightning and tempest, and
rot and blight, might have snatched the yellow prize from
thy eager hand, that cholera might have left thee without labour
to collect the store before the storms of winter consigned it to
destruction. Boast not thyself, for thy times are in God's hand.
Thou sowest, God has given thee the increase. Eat thou the
bread of thankfulness, for the tramp of armed enemies is far
removed from thy peaceful fields ; thy comfortable firesides know
not the ruthless intrusion of the desolating soldier; oh, boast not
thyself, for the battle is not always to the strong. Long may the
glorious season of harvest-time yield thee the fulness of the earth!
Long may the beauty of thy landscapes be heightened by the
glorious clothing, over hill and dale, of rich verdure and waving
■corn ! Long may thy wonderful fleets be spared the storm, and
•experience that immunity from defeat which has so singularly
<Lttended them, to protect thy shores from each hostile attack !
But remember in thy day of prosperity that the earth is the Lord's
and the fulness thereof. To the gay, to the grave, the prosperous
and the unfortunate, to the hoping and the successful, and the
bereaved, and the broken-hearted, this text, like many others in
the Blessed Book, applies alike with great force. A merciful
Providence veils the future from our eyes, and coming events
seldom cast their shadows before. Otherwise the gloom of a
future reverse would embitter a long period of previous existence.
God has commanded us what to do and be saved, and bids us
cast our care upon Him. If we suffer, we may feel assured that
it is to some wise end. Cheerful resignation will be blessed by
increased fortitude to bear our burden, and teach us to say with
humility, ''My times are in Thy hand." Let not, however, the
reckless and defiant sceptic think to escape the confession. The
time will come; even his next movement may wring it from him.
He may step into the next railway train smiling, confident — and
a few minutes may see him in the debris of a cojitfig^^mangled
and helpless. The morning may smile on his buoyant step, and
the night may fling its pall over him, stark and dead in the silent
room. He may form his plans for the progress and eminence of
his darling offspring, but their times are in God's hands, and he
may unexpectedly have to don the sombre garments of mourning
for their early death, and lay down his schemes and the pride and
hope of his heart — that heart which God, in His mercy, by such
visitations converts to Himself. By these and many other means
God often obliges the worldly, self-relying man to confess His
holy name; but "blessed are they that have not seen and yet
have believed." Blessed, indeed, is the man who has learnt early
to rely on his Maker. The storms of affliction may burst over
him, sorrow and poverty may overtake him ; but he has a Friend
who can and will guide and comfort him in all seasons. His
house is built upon a rock.
" Praise the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me praise His holy name.
Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits ;
Who forgiveth all thy sins and healeth all thine infirmities ;
Who saveth thy life from destruction and crowneth thee with mercy and
Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things and maketh thee young and lusty
as an eagle."
3o/>^ August, 1854. —
On an engine, in the night-time,
Flying through the starlit gloom ;
Not a word between us spoken :
On great caution hangs our doom.
Watch the gauge — turn on the water-
Ope the gleaming furnace-door,
Making us appear like demons,
In the glare, and smoke, and roar !
Ho ! the signal ! Put the break on !
Shut off steam— reverse the gear !
Now the monster throbs and struggles,
While we stare ahead and fear.
To man's frail limbs the mighty engine
Yields obedience, and we stand
Beneath the lofty danger-signal.
(Isn't this description grand ? )
I ith September, 1854. — More than usual to-day. I came to the
office fresh and vigorous for work, and a more than usual amount
of vexation, hurry, and irregularity has taken the shine out of me.
Now Tm going home jaded and inclined to be ill-tempered.
So on and on and on. When will it end.' It's a horse-mill sort
of business, this life of ours. Sleep and dream and eat and
work, and sleep again. True, while we go round, the devil or
man throws a brick at us, or lashes us, or breaks our shins, and
so stirs us up ; and then ag-ain we are turned out into the green
fields for a day occasionally. But for the most part it is grind,
" Around, around, around,
About and still about ;
All ill come running in,
All good keep out."
iph September, 1854. — Poor George Watson died on Sunday
night last, about 10 p.m. He had been ill for four or five weeks
with a diseased heart, from which he was not expected to
recover; but a two days' attack of diarrhoea hastened the crisis.
Taking a glance at George's career as a specimen of human
life, what a troubled streak of existence it appears ! An indulged
boyhood — moral and practical struggling- in manhood, in which
poor George continually had the worst of it — and an early grave.
The book is filled, and its pages are waste paper. How con-
temptible our fuming and puffing, our important anxieties and
hopes, our scheming and grasping appear, when brought to
this test! But that we are assured that the all-wise Creator
fulfils some design in giving us this cunningly devised frame and
these few years of life, we could not but turn away from the
consideration of our pilgrimage as a worthless puzzle. I do not
make these reflections in a gloomy spirit. Such thoughts kick
off" the ambition, self-importance, and anxious care from a man's
heart, and allow simpler and purer pursuits to occupy him. He
gives vent to love and kindness, stoops closer to the domestic
affections, doffs his dignity, smiles at insults, has a hand and a
cheering word for his erring and fallen brother, and a gentle
feeling to all around him, knowing, as he does, that it is all
gliding away — swiftly, surely, gliding away. The white hair in
his head neither shames nor startles him ; it is all in keeping
with what his heart daily tells him. He pities and encourages,
and goes about humbled and hopeful, waiting for the end. Such,
it strikes me, must be the result to a man whose mind habituates
itself to such musings, and is not tossed and driven by every
wind of excitement and temptation.
1 8/;^ Septemher, 1854. — Nine horses lame and sick. Enough
to grizzle one to fiddle-strings ! It is a good thing they're not
my own property. I should wish the cat had me.
To the junction, five miles down, at 6 p.m. Back into the
City by 8. To a Manchester agent at 9.30, and home at mid-
25M September, 1 854. — What can be said of the war ? — of the
mangling and smashing and ruining of peaceable people, of the
mock glory, of the train of desolated widows and orphans, of the
hardened men who come away from the bloody work to dwell
amongst us again ? There they go, bold hearts who deny that
they see fear — keeping down, down, the inward quake about the
soul, bright in colouring and gold and steel, beneath their flags.
Yonder the host proceeds. Soon will the still small voice be
drowned in excitement ; soon death, sudden stone-dead death,
miserable, agonising, frenzied death, and death under the sur-
geon's knife! And medals -will be struck, and the band will
play, and the Bishops will thank God, and subscriptions will
pour in to try to fill the crevices in the rent hearts of the poor
mothers and wives, and the rich mothers and wives must go
up-stairs and weep, and time will cement over the disfigured
parts of the social fabric ; and there an end of the success against
Can it be that Napoleon, whose best means of securing his
position on the throne is a firm alliance with respectable
England, — can it be that he, not a young man, has deep schemes
of revenging Waterloo } I can scarcely believe it. I think he
likes enjoym.ent. Will he not prefer to grasp it for the rest of
his life, rather than endanger the loss of his superb elevation by
treating us treacherously 1 He may write instructions for a son
or successor who would doubtless be anxious to distinguish him-
self in the eyes of a grand nation, but I do not think he intends
to break with us himself — at any rate, not in the Russian war.
Besides, he has Moscow to revenge if that be his humour.
^th October, 1854. — There seems a great deal of deli^y in the
transmission of official news from the Crimea, or else we should
hear of the fall of Sebastopol authentically. How full of bounce
and exultation the British Lion is ! How the men up in the little
rooms in Printing-house Yard are letting off their crackers-
clapping their wings on the safe side of Russia and crowing
about oiw power, and our success in the Crimea ! The article
to-day about the widows and orphans is, however, well timed
and well written.
loth Octoher, 1854. — Is it not sickening to read of the whole-
sale mowing down of men at the battle of the Alma ? How
many families will be bowed down with grief at the sad news !
It is, however, to be hoped that the struggle in the Crimea will
soon have the effect of bringing matters to a negotiation.
I ']th October, 1 854. — My feet are cold. The fire is gone down.
The office is silent after the bustle of the day. The gas-burners
shed a complacent look on the vacant stools and desks, where sit
the six or eight busy scribblers during the best hours of the day.
Could I, with supernatural glance, follow them, and see what they
are about, and penetrate their thoughts, a strangely mingled
history would, perhaps, in each case, reveal itself. The whole
circumstances of even the simplest life would fill an interesting
volume. The Recording Angel, whose book I was told of when
a small boy, must have plenty to do. Well — my feet don't get
warmer, and I want my tea. Let us turn out the complacent
burners, and leave the spirits to gaze on the stools and desks.
The spirits require no light ; to them the night and day are clear
alike. Not from the material sun do they receive illumination,
but the Light of Lights sheds brightness upon them. May they
be granted ministering power to remove temptation from the
paths of those whose daily toil it is my duty to superintend, and
may they help me also to a blessing!
2.^ih October^ 1 85 4. — Yesterday, I accompanied some railway
officials down the new junction to the intended Victoria Docks,
near Woolwich. They are docks, and no mistake; large enough
for the largest ships, and fully equal to the extended notions of
naval architecture. The entrance-gates will have twenty-seven
feet depth of water, and the docks themselves will be perfect
lakes. Warehouses, vaults, steam cranes, a railway, and a
turnpike road are all marked out, on the most improved plans.
30//^ October, 1854. — Busy to-day. Away to Haydon Square
this afternoon. A jostle through the crowded City — more busi-
ness than ever. Exuberant street-boys, who whistle in people's
ears, and instantly look another way, young swells going home,
with the regular Sibthorpe collar, workmen with dirty faces,
porters with parcels, anxious middle-aged ladies, careworn
shabby young women, sometimes a sweet bright sunbeam of a
face in the gloom of the commercial crowd, and now a wanton
face, and then an old buffer — all going on ; and then, in two
or three minutes, all changed for a lot more, still ever changing,
flowing unceasingly forward.
25 M December, 1 85 4. — Is there not in all of us some kernel
of goodness, which, though concealed by our worldly exterior,
lives on, amidst our follies and sins, and occasionally expanding
to the surface, brings the prayer to our lips, and our knees to
the ground ? Retiring oft it may be, but destined to stand out
revealed when the fleshly covering, with its passions, weaknesses,
and misconceptions, shall fade away. Oh, for that time when
everybody will be good and pure and bright and glorified !
May you and I walk hand-in-hand in that bright kingdom —
saved for ever! Until then — the world as it is — and God help us
in all things.
\th January, 1 85 5. — On Christmas Day, my foreman, Fogarty,
Yeoman of the Guard to the Queen, was nearly squeezed to
death between the buffers at this station. As a brakesman was
killed a day or two ago, and a boy was run over the night
before, one gets quite nervous.
I left poor Fogarty about three o'clock, a fine hearty man,
full of life, and I saw him a few hours after, saying his prayers
on the hospital bed, wiih no hope of life. He has, however,
lingered on to this time, and now lies with a bare chance of
recovery. While I was at the hospital on Christmas night,
a man was brought in dead, killed by the train — as they said —
at Camden ; but I did not know his face, and it appeared after-
wards that he lost his life on the North London line, about
half-a-mile from Camden.
All the merry time of Christmas, and up to within a day or
two, we have been in a sad mess in the station, through increased
traffic, the alterations, and want of locomotive power, and my
work has been very hard.
Some clever man has invented an improved fog-signal. A
fog-signal is a small case of tin, which contains percussion caps
and gunpowder, and, being placed on the rail, the pressure
of the wheel fires it off with a loud report. The improved signal
we find, discharges pieces of cast-iron, and wounds the men. A
few nights ago, one of the guards was hit in the thigh, and
nearly bled to death before medical aid could be obtained. A
pointsman has since been cut, and I have called in the improved
articles. Talking of bleeding to death, one of my men was
riding on an engine a few days ago, eating, with a knife
in his hand; a sudden movement of the engine threw
him into the tender, and ran the knife into his leg and severed
What of Peace, and the War, and the mismanagement, and
the horror .? I don't go altogether with you: though you, no doubt,
are better able to '' surround " the subject. Perhaps I have
caught the popular feeling in some respects, although I detest
the bounce and self-reliance of the vox populi. Whether the
Czar intended to overrun Turkey, and all the world afterwards,
or whether Napoleon helped us into the row, or not, I cannot say;
but the nation has undertaken to check the Czar in a case of
aggression, pretty fairly proved against him, and the nation
must do its best, under Providence, to carry out that object.
Our disasters must be endured, and patient, but energetic
exertion must be made to retrieve the position we have lost.
Well, I don't like the subject; 1 seldom tackle it: it is so
complicated, so deplorable in every point of view.
26th January, 1 85 5 . — The days go quicker, and the hurry of
life increases in speed with me.
I tell you of most of our accidents, so I must not omit the
case of signalman Rice, who went up a ladder to light the lamp
of the auxiliary signal at Chalk Farm bridge last night. This
signal is turned by a man down at the tunnel by means of a wire
and a spring ; and the man had occasion to turn it at the moment
poor Rice was lighting it, and so knocked him off his perch,
which broke his thigh and ankle-bone very badly.
Think of Lord John resigning ! He'd better go home ; he's
too hoity-toity by half; but let us hear his explanation. Truly
the nation is in a mess. Will you take the government and let
me go to the Crimea and put the thing to rights ? Well, it will
come right. Clench your teeth, O people, and endure. Through
the mud, and out of the blood, and from the heaps of her brave
sons, dead, but deathless, England will rise to her place in the
world. Scourged she may be, but Heaven will not cast her off.
Purified and humbled she may be, but the better able to resume
her path towards her high destiny will she come forth, shaking
from her garments the dust of many of her errors. Crime and
folly, pride and hypocrisy, may appear in the indictment of the
Recording Angel, but from amidst the mire of sin in which she has
struggled and plunged, her right arm has held forth Freedom,
Truth and Light, the Gospel to the heathen, a home to the
outcast, protection to the weak, and words of comfort and hope
to the oppressed: and the God of mercy may hide his face from
her for awhile, but he will not utterly desert her in her time
-i^ist January, 1855. — Snow — in your face and round your hat
and on your bosom, and insinuating itself into your boots ; on
the rails ; in the points annoyingly ; in holes deceitfully seducing
you up to your knees; in balls in the horses' feet, — and they
slither and slide and look beseechingly; up against doorways,
and down chimneys, in heaps unexpectedly ; and more and more
coming unrelentingly. That is the state of things to-night.
27M AfriL 1 855 . — Called out in haste. The 4 p.m. passenger
train had run into the temporary siding in the new works and
upset the carriages and piled them, one over the other, according
to the usual completeness with which the ponderous machines
are wont to kick up their heels when they do get a chance.
Miraculous though it may seem, nobody was hurt. The pas-
sengers were fished out of the doors of the carriages. In an
hour's time they were all sent away on their journey. A few
hours more sufficed to clear the line, and the place looked ready
to take its solemn oath that no accident had occurred at all.
I have had a peep at the Emperor of the French and his
pretty wife. She is a blue-eyed quiet-looking lady. His expres-
sion is glum and lachrymose. The carriage stopped in front of
me. Prince Albert's open handsome face was better worth
seeing than all the rest. Two of my brothers-in-law had tickets
for the interior of the Crystal Palace, and they describe the scene
as thrilling- in the extreme. I went into the building- after the
departure of the Royal personages. The company, the building,
and the glorious objects of interest create awe rather than delight
in me. The busts of the great men of all ages, the temples and
other structures in exact imitation of those used by the ancients
thousands of years ago, the representations of forgotten art, &c.,
drag from the dust of ages, in unexpected vividness, the Past,
stripping it of its misty imaginative veil and exposing it in almost
abrupt reality to the mind; while the glory of the Present, in
the living plants and the thronging people, the sparkling water,
the hum of voices, and the heart-thrilling music— not forgetting
the refreshment department, together with the shining walls of
the fairy-like building, with the bright sun pouring its delighted
rays through the sparkling crystal, on objects of grace and
beauty everywhere. All this floods my heart and makes me fear
for the aspiring pride of man, when he contemplates as much of
the present, accumulated and combined with the past, lest he
forget the fate of Babylon. All the while the Future mingles
with my reflections, and the fear of what is to be at length sub-
sides into a warm thankfulness and an earnest trust in Him whose
glory and majesty are shown forth in all these things. Thus I
lean as a little child on the wonderful Creator and am content.
All this flits through my mind while I smile at a joke from my
brothers or beat time to some recognised air.
Afth May, 1855. — Last night the fireman of our night shunting
engine was found in one of the signalman's huts in a state of
intoxication, with his head under the grate ; and shortly after-
wards the signalman himself was discovered, on his back, on the
line, nearly as bad ; and further down the line a hamper which
had been stolen from a down goods train, and evidently mistaken
for a hamper of wine, was also found. The contents were,
however, drugs. One bottle contained essential oil of almonds.
What the bottle contained which these men drank from is yet a
mystery. I should think it was spirits of wine, by the quick effect
A few hours previous to this one of our oldest porters was
caught between the waggons and horribly crushed.
These incidents occupied the night foreman a long- time,
and when he went back to the office he found that the day fore-
man had left a pet monkey in the place, and the little brute had
got at some brandy and was completely drunk. When I saw
the animal in the morning he was looking very lugubrious and
like a certain superior animal under similar circumstances. His
master informed me that he ate two packets of blacking and a
box of pills a few days ago.
y/h May, 1855. — At the opera. All the men with stiff necks,
drawling gentlemanly voices, white kids, and an air which
seemed to express their satiated familiarity with the whole thing.
The ladies all handsome — for fine feathers do make fine birds —
brilliants, bare necks, and teeth like a sunbeam.
lOth May, 1 8 55. — Sir, I am elected a Vestryman of the great
parish of St. Pankridge. Sir, I am now a member of the local
legislative body, and I do trust that it will not be necessary for
me to point to this stunning fact at any future period of our inter-
course, when you might thoughtlessly be inclined to presume
upon the urbanity with which I have treated you up to this
''ripping" point of my career. I can now sympathise with the
Emperor under the circumstances of his sudden elevation
from poverty to power, although my progress into distinction
has been somewhat more gradual than his. Sir, you will not
feel hurt at these remarks. They are the stern voice of duty
coming from a heart overflowing with love to my species, be they
ever so humble. You, sir, are humble ; I was humble ; but
you will reflect that the cares of government are now heavy on
my shoulder. Think of me as the gentle youth with whom you
roarhed the Yorkshire heather and the Hampstead hills, and
forget the grave brow of the local senator. Remember the
wanderings of yore, the drives and the dinners, the confidings,
the conversations, the cabs, the warmth of the grip which no
storm hath relaxed; but, confound it, Sir! no liberties with a
\^th May, 1855. — I attended the Vestry Hall on Wednesday
last and took my seat. It is good fun. I shall enjoy the debates.
There is something to be learnt in all new branches of business ;
but this will combine amusement with knowledge. An old
"bloke'" — a barrister and churchwarden — took the chair. He
makes a good speech. There is a Dissenting- minister, who is
an active member, and there are two or three more barristers, a
portly tailor who wears a moustache, one or two publicans, and
a lot of rummy-looking silent members, who aftbrd me some
occupation to think what the dickens they are. There are
swellish vestrymen, shabby vestrymen (decidedly so — awkward
boots and home-made trousers, and all that kind of thing),
vestrymen with unexceptionable white shirts and collars, and
vestrymen who do not show either shirt or collar, it being
Wednesday, the day before clean-shirt day ; which is a pity. As
I am known to represent the interests of the London and North-
Western Railway I am treated with some consideration.
28/ h May, 1855. — One of the lads attached to my office, a
promising youth of sixteen, the pet of his mother, went out
yesterday in a boat at Richmond, and was drowned. Poor lad !
all my office is in great gloom to-day. He was much liked.
How grief-stricken his bereaved parents must be.
y/k June, 1855. — Do you remember my telling you of a man
named Baker who realised a fortune at share-speculating and
kept his brougham and had a beautiful wife ? Well, he came
down — lost, lost, lost — and finally purloined a Turkish bond, was
arrested, but escaped to America. Hearing that his wife was
in the hospital very ill, he returned and obtained a situation,
was met and taken into custody, and was sentenced to a term of
imprisonment in Newgate, where he now lies ; while his beau-
tiful wife lies stark and dead in the Middlesex Hospital.
\st July, 1855. — What think you of Lord Robert Grosvenor's
Bill ? I approve of it. The putting a stop to the Sunday
morning trading is much required. It will oblige masters to pay
their men in time for them to get their Sunday provisions Over-
night, and it will oblige men to go home and give their wives
some money, instead of going direct from work to the public-
house, whence they do not turn out until they have arrived at
drunkenness and midnight. We much want a series of measures
to keep back the mob from encroaching on the Sunday. The
line must be kept better or it will be entirely broken, like the
course after a race, and the thimble-riggers, the dancers, the
sing-ers will commence their business, and the whole uproar of
Vanity Fair will arise on the green sward lately so serene and
clear. The observance of Sunday as a religious day may
probably not be directly ordered in the New Testament Scriptures,
but even as a human institution it is most valuable. Who in this
busy world, with any religion at all, does not feel the necessity of
one day in seven to recruit his weary mind, to collect his hurried
and scattered thoughts, and to kneel calmly in prayer for his
neighbours, his country, the whole world, and himself? Who
that has felt any pleasure in this exercise is not convinced, by any
occasional deprivation of it, that without the day of holy rest he
would dwindle into a mere machine, with blunted sympathies and
bewildered thoughts, hopeless and without consolation ? Let us
stand by the Sunday.
Z^ St July ^ 1855. — To-day I had business at the Marylebone
Police Court. While I waited I surveyed the poor wretches who
were about to be taken before the magistrate. Here is a
labouring man with a damaged nose and swollen lips. Drink and
fighting appeared to be his weaknesses. A poor careworn woman
brings him a bottle of ginger-beer to cool his feverish throat.
She is doubtless his wife and is seeing him through it. There sit
two boys, about sixteen years of age ; one short and stumpy, with
pent brows, sore eyes, and an underhung jaw ; the other, thin and
delicate-looking, with regular features, but a crooked smile, and
bad teeth. Poor lads ! — in the grand summing-up of this world's
complicated Case, how much of your vice and frailty will fall
away from you to swell the indictment of those who have neglected
you — be they parents, or parishioners, or the nation at large !
Yonder is a drunken woman, about forty or more, with remains
of beauty in her red face. She is scarcely sober, and takes it into
her head to administer a box on the ear to a rather bumptious
policeman. A commotion ensues. Then there is a cavil between
a half-tipsy Irishman, all rags and dirt, and the before-mentioned
policeman, whom I feel inclined to report for his taunts and gibes
to the prisoners. Sitting near are two of the lowest description
of prostitutes, one of them slim and pretty, and the other a plain
stumpy little termagant, both wearing a defiant expression in
their young eyes. Now comes in an old lady, with a terrible
black eye. She is accompanied by her daughter, a young- lady
wnth a veil and her hair done up. Some wretch, I suppose, has
given the mamma a pop in the eye and she attends to prosecute.
\Uh Auguit, 1855. — Talk of Busmen. Can't anything be
done for them ? They commence work at about 8 a.m., and leave
off at midnight. On Sundays from 10 a.m., to past midnight.
"Do you ever see a Bible.?" said a parson to one of them the
other day. "Why, yes, I sees em," said the man, "cos there's my
six children has one a-piece ; but that's as fur as I gets. Why,
love yer art, sir, wen I goes straight home — cos there's many as
don't — well, by the time I sits down it's half arter twelve, and
wen I tries it on to look at the paper I'm asleep afore you can
say ' knife.' So I gives the paper to my misses and I ses to her,
ses I, ' you take that — I'll smoke.' Readin's done wi' me, and I've
done wi' readin. Why, sir, sixty mile a day in the open air does
it. You can't stand a close room arterwards — you're safe to fall
asleep. Not but what Ive gone to church twice a-day, five years
at a stretch, right off, when I was a gennelman's servant. But I
can't bear to think about it. Look out, Bill ! " Stout gentleman
at this juncture rushes out of a brewery and blows up the busman
for stopping up the road, so that the drays are detained. " For
my part," says the gentleman, " I wish you and the cabs were
under heavy fines." " Oh, you do, do yer ?" replies the bus-driver.
*' Well, them brewers ain't the cream-o-the-valley, /can see."
And so the remainder of the ride is not sociable.
22nd August, 1855. —
Accursed, subtle, tempting evil 1
Thou fluid extract of the devil !
Avaunt — begone — and ne'er again
Beguile my lips to steal my brain
The flower of life, forced by thy heat,
Blooms bright and ruddy, high and sweet,
Our hands the friendly grasp return,
The fires of passion fiercely burn,
Valour and wit escape control,
And pleasure dances round the bowl.
But Oh ! the morning sees the bloom
All spent, — all wasted the perfume.
The trembling hands relax their hold.
The fire of love is dead and cold,
Dismay sits grim on valour's stool,
And wit stares now a vacant fool,
And Hell yawns round the broken bowl.
20th November, 1856. — The London and North Western
Railway Company have appointed me Goods Manag-er of the
29M November, 1856. — A letter from Thomas Carlyle, the
author, about his packages. He writes a fist as queer as his
nth December, 1856. — Dined out twice lately, everything"
tempting" and glittering ; but a comfortable dinner at home beats
22nd December, 1 856. — Do you believe this ? It is said that the
new electric telegraph was tried on a new line in Wales the other
day, but immediately the clerk attempted to spell on the instrument
one of the many-consonanted Welsh names, one of the wires
curled up and the other broke off short !
\6th June, 1858. — The sun is setting gloriously over old
Camden, as he will set, Robin Adair, when some one else fills this
chair of mine, and when you have ceased to bewail your erring
flock and some other chap is going through the same performance.
Meanwhile, we will hope that no greater trouble than has hitherto
befallen us may come between us and the end, and that a
peaceful ray of the wondrous luminary may fall on the green
turf of our graves and gild the tear of pleasant memory, shed
by the friend whose love recalls us, while our pardoned spirits
rest in Heaven, through the same goodness and mercy which
have followed us all the days of our lives.
9M August, 1858.— As regards Canada, if that dream be
realised, then, Robin Adair,
You shall come over there
And preach on the stair,
Or the barrel of beer.
To my wife and her dear,
In our dwelling so fair,
Where Loo and her little-ones ever shall be
In clover and ease till they lie down and dee;
And folks in the future shall tell— and no lee —
That once in those parts lived a Bob and Davie, /
Two out-and-out fellows as ever could be.
And that many a year they lived jollily
In England, the land away over the sea,
The home of the Briton, the soil of the free ;
And that when they came out into West Canadee
They brought sons and daughters — how many ? Let's see
Never mind ! but they finally left ninety-three.
i^th August, 1858.— Milverton— Somersetshire.
I have just been standing in the moonlig-ht in front of your old
domicile at Milverton. It is a beautiful old place certainly, only not
quite so large as I expected to see it. The church looks romantic in
the moonbeams. The sweet-toned bell struck nine as I strolled
round the venerable fabric, full of dreams of the past. I had a little
difficulty in finding poor Mary Ann's grave. It is situated in a
peaceful spot. Now I have returned to mine inn to write to you
and Eliza. What a glorious country it is all about here ! I
wish you were with me to answer the thousand questions
which arise in my mind. No one seems to know anything. The
landlord don't remember anything, and he hasn't been long
here. The waiter tells me long yarns about everything hut
Milverton ; and the folk seem to think I am not much good,
prowling about in the dark. Never mind, I have seen the
place and am satisfied ; but I hope the sheets at the hotel won't
be damp. Such brandy ! — none of your foreign stuff — real
British, and no mistake. Bah ' I repeat, I hope the sheets won't
l']th September, 1858. — I have been to the Isle of Man;
wasn't sick going or coming. Like the place; pretty country,
like Wicklow. Town stinks of drains when the tide is out, and
of fish when it's in. People talk a sort of Irish brogue. Went
to church, where they collected the money for the poor in an
apparatus resembling a warming pan. To the play, where I
saw 'Macbeth' with a vengeance. Didn't sleep much o'nights,
owing to a church clock just outside my bedroom window striking
the hours cruelly loud.
yd October, 1858. — Sunday. — It is now about half-past seven,
and you, I presume, are sowing broadcast in the field of your
Master. May your arm be strong, and the' grain full of
fructifying vigour, sinking deep into the heart, to bring forth
abundantly. Tell your flock how responsible they are; shew
them the wonderful miracle of a life — its grand mechanism — its
wonderful sustenance — the beauty of its youth — the mighty
productions of its manhood — its certain decay, and then the
mocking infirmities of age — all speaking with eloquent force, to
the thinking mind, that such a glorious creation as man could not
have been made to run a purposeless course. Bid them work
while it is yet day, each one assisting-, in his sphere, the step ot
goodness for which each generation is collectively answerable.
Call on them to fight the evil which all must feel to exist in their
hearts ; to cultivate the heavenly inclination to goodness, even if
it be but a spark, the minute remnant of their divine origin.
Entreat them to fan that spark into a flame until it illumines the
whole character. Picture to them the hatefulness of sin, and
make them to feel the consoling truth that when the wicked man
turneth away from his wickedness and doeth that which is lawful
and right he shall save his soul alive. The tender mercy of an
earthly parent who loves his darlings may feebly convey to them
the idea of the ready forgiveness of Him of whom you are
commissioned to speak. Pardon for the past, grace and strength
for the future, you can offer in His name ; and it will go hard,
my anxious pastor, if you do not here and there reclaim some
2gthyuly, 1859. — The Trosachs. — Here you are, or, at least,
here I am ! I have come by Callander from Stirling, and
coached it from Callander. I have just now taken a long walk
up Glenfinlas — so grand and solemn — swelling bully-looking
mountains, that seem to defy and mock the notion of anyone
climbing up their sides — rushing, roaring, dashing waters — and
such oppressive loneliness. Altogether I felt an indefinite fear
as the twilight drew in, especially when I came to a spot where
the rocks echoed the hollow sound of the waterfall a hundred times.
The daylight remains here much later than in the south, as
you probably know, and the outline of the mountains against
the twilight is very beautiful.
I start for Loch Katrine to-morrow morning. I shall go up
it and on to Inversnaid, and down Loch Lomond to Balloch and
I enjoyed the sight of picturesque Edinburgh ; likewise I
smelled the smells of the old town, down about the Cowgate.
I did Arthur's Seat and all the sights, Portobello and bathing
into the bargain.
At tea here this evening I fell in with a chatty pleasant lady
from Gateshead. Now, hold hard ! her husband is with her.
He seems a decent old chap, but he has a hair lip and articulates
with difficulty ; moreover, he is troubled with eructations, saving*
your presence, and looks the next minute as though he had
discharged an agreeable duty to his fellow creatures. They have
just gone to bed. They are going my way to-morrow. The
old chap smokes a cigar, so we vshall probably -fraternise, for,
truth to tell, I am not enamoured of my own company on a trip
of this kind. I'd give a brass '' farden " if my little woman and
you were with me.
At the present juncture I am writing, and smoking a cigar,
and I've a tumbler of toddy before me, and there's a gent
opposite '^asisdoin' of the same," barring the writing. On my
left is a long-nosed dogmatical Britisher, who has just shut up a
long-winded lot of bosh about Louis Napoleon, and further on
there is a young "feller" who has been walking his feet off up the
"mountings" and looks done up. We are rather a different lot of
''gents" from those who were in the habit of prowling about here
a hundred years ago, and if it were as cold here then as now,
I should think that the absence of breeches must have been felt
I find that there's no post from these parts until to-morrow
night, and then' the time is uncertain, so I shall carry this in my
pocket until I reach civilisation. I may add something more
to-morrow, but it will probably be in Gaelic, as you know how
readily I forget my native tongue.
iph December, i86l. — I believe you are right as to the £150
days. I don't see much more money, and I don't think I am
happier. The latter commodity is, I suppose, nearly equally
distributed, or, at any rate, much more so than we think
generally. I have, no doubt, as much pleasure, if one could get
through, and push aside the pride, affectation and bosh, and
arrive at the real state of one's condition — which is difficult to
do — I dare say I think myself a very important man of business —
that I am working out my little bit of duty in the world ; and
that your portraiture of me, although jocularly put, is in reality
true, and I am a most excellent fellow, notwithstanding certain
remembrances of errors and shortcomings which will come up.
I find myself uncommonly willing to take a favourable view of
myself at all times.
The religious meeting- was a breakfast in the shops at
Euston a Sunday or two ago, at which nearly 400 men of ours
assembled. They were addressed by Canon Champneys, Judge
Payne, and others, and the speeches were eloquent exhortations
to the men to consider their religious responsibility as men,
parents, and christians. If no lasting good has arisen, the effort
was an earnest one to promote Christianity, and was sensibly and
temperately carried out. I don't admire the greasy whining
' parties ' who grow out of a certain method of teaching
religion. No ; goodness in act and deed, evidencing love in the
heart, and a true imitation of the Great Example, the kind and
pure Christ, I like to- recognize and cheer on ; and I find such
men amongst all denominations and in many unexpected
I am going to Folkestone on Tuesday. Why not come up
and go with me ? We would gaze together into the impatient
billows, which lick, like faithful mastiffs, the smiling cliffs of dear
old Albion. We would pour the libation to old ocean. We
would wander on the pebbly strand and forget awhile the world
and our work. These balmy days, so unlike December's
usual rigour, ought to beguile us into thoughts of spring-time,
while our voices, gently harmonising with the far down murmur
of the waves, should pleasantly break the sea-side solitude.
Old memories would then arise of days gone grey in our poor
recollections, and scenes from the Magic Lantern of the past
would be lighted up to touch the chords of our old hardened
T^Oth January, 1 863. — Many thanks for all your good wishes.
I think 1863 looks hopeful. I begin it more cheerfully, in many
respects, than I did 1862. That period will be long remembered:
it has been a ' fizzer. ' Yet who can reflect on even the darkest
pages of his existence without being able to thank the great
Disposer of events for many mercies? Pardon me for trespassing
on your line of business for the moment.
Is Harris still with you .?
Then let the Harris busy be
In Wybunbury's bowers,
And roar, and laugh, and preach, and spree,
And waste the vicar's hours.
But, Parson, on the other side
Of his great mouth, I ween,
He smiles when o'er the wincing boys
He lifts his awful cane.
No laugh for them from him the " brute, "
No spree, no jolly air.
' Hi ! you young sir, that thing won't suit ! '
He says, as from his chair
He starts — rage in his eye — and all
The boys around he beats !
Ah me I indeed it doth appal
To know mankind are cheats.
September, 1863. — ^Jersey. A soft wind ripples the paper on
which I write; the sun-glare is occasionally relieved by a cloud;
the sea breaks on the strand beneath me in subdued waves, and
in a majesty of expanse stretches far away to the verg"e of the
horizon. Of late it tore and foamed and dashed, in mighty waves,
rushing to the shore with greedy breakers, ravenous to swallow
up the land ; again and again thrust back, to return again with
renewed strength. Now its calm bosom gently heaves. The
We are greatly enjoying ourselves here and gathering
strength for the next year's campaign. But even here there is
excitement ; for just now I had to descend from my perch on a
rock to bully a man who was going too near my hen and chickens,
who were bathing in a neighbouring nook in the rocks. I resume
my meditations and return along the sands, very much like the sea I
have mentioned — calmer after a ' boil over '.
These parts are very beautiful : such pretty bays and wild
rocks and old castles. I roam about in drab boots and an old
grey coat, and feel quite easy.
i^th Septeniher, 1863. — On South Western Railway. — I have
just passed Winchester, flying at the rate of twenty miles an hour
towards Southampton. The sun shines over the green land-
scape, and I am enjoying the ride. On my left sits a plain young
lady in black, and on my right a civil gentleman, who lent me his
' Times. ' Whither are we three going ? Shall we ever sit side by
side for three hours again .? What is she .? What is he ? They
may be a prince and princess, or the proprietors of a tripe shop.
What a trio, presently to throw and dissolve itself in different
directions ! What a shell thrown into Southampton, to break up
into scattered particles to do mischief I
7-30 p.m. — Nov/ I am in the carriag-e with my brood g'oing* t
London, having- met them at the Jersey boat, given them some
g-rub, looked after the lugg-ag-e, and lodged them safely here.
They all look brown and healthy, although the children have
been very sick on the voyage. Away we go, homeward ; another
happy holiday spent; another bright summer's pleasure off our
lives. Sic transit, 6-<r.
10.30 p.m. — Home. Greetings with Ellen. Hot supper.
Running about the house. Enquiries after the dog and the goat
and the cat and the rabbit. Item, heavy cab fare.
27M September, 1 863. — Great Berkhampstead. I am seated
on the gnarled root of a tree. In front of me are hundreds of
rose-trees, each with its particular last rose ot summer; and
beyond lies, outstretched, Ashridge Park and the usual green and
rich country of old England. I have breakfasted, but the
household is not yet down, and I have come out for a sniff of the
Poor F, who was Station-master at , is here. The
disease in his bones does not abate much. He may linger for a
year or two, but it is thought that recovery is out of the question.
His sufferings are great. How ashamed one feels of grumbling
and discontent when such a case as this young fellow's comes
before one. It is comforting to believe that in the next world the
perplexing inequalities of destiny which exist here will all be
25M October, 1863. — Sunday. — It is a great blessing, this
Sunday rest. The care and strife, the ambitions and humiliations
are suspended, and one has time to pause on this landing of Life's
staircase and quiet the poor torn and weary spirit. The good
words of the preacher haul in the slack of our practice and bring
about reflection. The prayers tranquilise us and revive forgotten
hopes of that sweet world to which the pardoned are journeying.
There is time to be oneself. The gas of the world, which has
puffed up thoughtless impulses, and carried us high away into the
clouds of danger and temptation, is turned off for the day, and we
walk on terra fir ma. The sins of the week descend also with our
balloon and lie in their deformity around us. We gaze and
deplore and resolve ; and, remembering former deplorings and
resolutions, pray for better streng-th, feeling- the value of the
\2th November, 1863. — Here I am waiting at Guildhall. The
Queen sent to me and John Doe greeung-, commanding me to
appear in the Court of Exchequer here with a 36-pounder cannon,
about which there is a dispute in law — the cannon being in my
possession officially. So here I am with my cannon. Doe has
not yet turned up. I suppose he is a relative of Gog and Magog
and other myths.
It is mouldy work dawdling about. I'he Court has an
ancient, not to say a fish-like smell ; so I don't go in there much.
All sorts of people hang about ; many of them greasy, with bags,
and with their trousers fringed at the heels. Everybody looks
ugly somehow, and one has a general distrust of all who come
near. This is unchristian, but irresistible. The judges at these
Courts have all been changed since I first attended them. The
old faces have passed away, and I only recognise an old barrister
at the bar here and there. There is M., a rising young barrister
within my remembrance. He is now a sad old guy, with white
hair and a fearful stand-up collar. He only wants a chair and
two bearers, to complete him, and he would take no end of
money for fireworks. Ah me ! how the time and the people pass
away, — and I, too, cannot be standing on a pedestal witnessing
the onward movement. No — we are all in the current — moving
surely, though imperceptibly.
Jih Decef7iber, 1863. — Ted has just been relating how a man
he heard of never bought any coals, never had any given him, and
never stole any — yet always had plenty in his cellar. It appears
that his garden wall was alongside a canal, and his plan was to
place on the top of the wall a glass bottle. Playful bargees with
freights of coal could not resist a cock-shy, and, with no
ammunition but coal, they used that freely. The old man on the
other side of the wall picked up and bagged the shots, replacing
the bottle when necessary, which was not often.
I si April, 1864. — I have had a few days of freedom from tooth-
ache and some bothers which are my thorns in the flesh, and I have
been happy and grateful, enjoying this (on the whole) most
agreeable world ; laying in a little stock to remember when the
clouds come, — antidotes to murmuring, — stores of consolation
when the porter's knot has to be put on to carry the burdens of
this jolly old eccentric pilgrimage.
1 1 th April, 1864. — Garibaldi is struggling through London
to-day. People who have been to see the progress say he only
reached Kensington about 5 o'clock, and, considering the sea of
people in Pall Mall, at Charing Cross, etc., he will, I should think,
be at Stafford House about next Monday, if he has luck.
\6th September, 1 864. — I went to the Adelphi Theatre this week
and saw Toole, a wonderful actor ; but, Robin, we don't roar, as
we used, at fun. Alas ! that organ is getting weak in the wind —
the Tiot summers, the heat of the day, has dried up the green
verdure — and if we are wiser (which I question) we are sadder.
I hope we shall be able to keep a few grins to the end, however.
18/A October, 1864. — Mr. C. Mason is away on a tour, and I
am '' taking the duty " for him. A lull in the business leaves me
listening to the clock ticking on the mantel-piece — a sound which
seems to be elected to the chair when there is a general meeting
20th February, 1865. — In the York and Albany just now, at
my luncheon, I came across a fellow slightly cranky. He talked
of the fresh air, the bad cooking of the chop, his literary labours,
the clubs, the insignificance of money to him, though not a rich
man, the state of his health, the death of Cardinal Wiseman, the
absurdity of men looking into their hats at church ; cried because
he had lost his wife, "■ sometime ago, of course ", and then laughed
at Punch, and at Protestant parsons; declaimed against the
taking of *'our abbeys" by the Protestants; and wound up by
prophesying vehemently that England would be Roman Catholic
in less than fifty years.
Musn't I be short of news when I write such a paragraph as
the above? Well, one has nothing to say; the freshness is
wearing off, I suppose, and we don't see the fun of little matters
as we did formerly, or, at least, we fear to write about them, to
bore our friends withal, as of old.
What think you of the weather ? It is a neat old-fashioned
winter, I submit; and those who have been talking of '' good old
seasonable weather" have, I trust, got plenty of it this time.
For my part, I have had enough. I want a little piece of soft
weather, when you can get out of bed without feeling" as though
you had taken strychnine — when a man may walk to his small
clothes without destroying his dignity by making hideous grimaces
in the presence of his weaker vessel — and when shaving isn't quite
a process of refined torture.
19M September, 1 865. — We have had to kill poor old Floss,
our doggie. We could not cure his fleas, and they were
migrating all over the house; and so there was a long parting,
and the sound of his cheery bark went away from us, as all things
will go, I suppose, in time. Verily you might take a worse
subject for your sermon than that poor little affectionate be-
vermined dog. Do the beasts perish ? — ^Are you sure } If so,
there is many a beautiful spirit which could be profitably
transferred into the carcass of a man, in exchange for his own —
so far as my feeble vision can see of the matter.
\st October, 1 865. — How imperceptibly the hand goes round
the dial ! Our seniors are gradually slipping from the front
rank, and we shall soon have to totter to their places, to gaze
into eternity, face to face. The hands of those who climbed the
ladder of life before us, and which have so long been extended
downwards to help our steps, are rapidly disappearing into the
clouds ; and we must hold each rung ourselves, and in our turn
cheer on those beneath us.
Who came between the 'tin' and me
By dodges which I couldn't see,
And with the plate made much too free?
Who knew that I was far too pure
To wish with gold Life's ills to cure,
And that I relished being poor ?
Who for my sake lost self respect,
And to be thief did not object,
That I on gold might not be wreck'd ?
Who coloured well, with reasoning smile,
To doting ears, the artful wile
That would my expectations ' spile ' ?
For this and all, we'd strilic the lyre, '
H. B., my boy, and raise thee higher
With patent rope, and end with fire,
*My friend was swindled by H.B. out of some property. A little was saved, but nearly
destroyed afterwards in an accidental iire.
8M February, 1866. — Waif-like, I am rushing to and fro on
the earth. In No. 135 carriag-e, Great Northern Railway, I am
firing- away to Peterborough, while you live at home at ease and,
I dare say, at this instant are devoutly giving- your blessing to
some excellent tax-collector, or other person, who relieves you of
your filthy lucre. I am thinking how cleanly you and I must
naturally be. We seem to get rid of that kind of filth by natural
instinct, until really sometimes we are uncomfortably clean in
that respect — cleaned out, in fact.
28//^ March, 1866. — Splendid day here yesterday. I went
into the country to look at a coal wharf, and lingered in the lanes
listening to the wonders of the birds, and breathing, the sunshine.
I had had a week of toothache and was free from it, and I felt
all the sweet influences of the returning season with doubled
happiness. Will there be singing birds, and winding lanes, and
fair meadows in the place whither thou art guiding us, O my
Preacher ? Take thou mine hand and lead me on quickly, for I
tire of struggling men and roaring cities. I never loved the strife,
and in the battle with sin I have ever bitten the dust. My heart
yearns for the quiet of that tranquil world where men and women
are as the angels,
29/A June, 1 866. — As regards the war between Austria and
Italy, my commonplace order of mind wanders down below the
inflated speeches and proclamations of ambitious kings and
politicians, who, in the pursuit of their game, are blind to all
other considerations. I find my way, mole-like, below the
grandeur and the glory, and the hollow appeals to romance
and humbug, and I get to poor lads, torn away from honest
productive occupations, and to mothers and sisters, and aunts,
and wives and cousins, and the great heap of accumulated grief
which these gilded and silvered and feathered kings and kaisers
are making amongst thousands of human beings. Could the
suffering of one battle-field — the stark dead and the parched
wounded — the agony of all those who wait the fate of a son or
brother or husband — could such things be numbered up and
divided to the accounts of those who cause the war, the weight
would take them all to the bottom of the bottomless pit, or keep
them going down for ever.
\Qth November, i866. — Rugby. This is a pleasant place;
house, hig-h and dry, in a field off the road ; a mile-and-a-half
from the station ; town, half-way ; good suburbs ; town, clean ;
good shops. Now for good, sweet, juicy apples : I think at this
place, we are equalled by few and surpassed by none; and for
pigs that will try the olfactory nerves with here and there one, I
think I may venture to put in a modest claim. Good garden,
fish-pond, &c. Our pony is a pretty fellow, eats sugar and
apples, and is a great favourite. But oh ! you won't betray me if
I tell you that I have a dreadful secret respecting that quadruped?
My friend ! what are my feelings when my wife and family are
fondling that pony, and calling my attention to his beauties —
while I smile a ghastly deception, for I know, oh ! I know, that the
beggar is as old as Methuselah, and that I paid for him just
twice as much as he is worth. Sold he was — sold I was— and
sold they were !
I go to town several times during the month, but I can get
home at night very well, and even to dinner, for we have taken
to dining late. Dinner at six, a cup of coffee at nine, and by ten
we are lying all unconscious in a dark house on a hill-side, the
sleeping birds, the trees, and hedges, and growing crops, and
the shining stars, out in the night all around us, — until that
bright " Fo-e-bus " drives up his carriage to the gates of day,
and lets the silent Lady Morn alight ; who, clad in silver sheen,
with solemn tread advances to relieve the watching stars, and bid
the world arise.
Nearly thirty years ago I went to Hampstead, and a few
days past I came away from it. All the while I have loved it,
lived near it, watched its changes and the falling out, one by one,
of its old familiar faces; and now mine has dropped away from it.
The persons I knew as acquaintances will gradually fade from
my ken ; and many, whom I knew only by sight, from youth to
manhood, or from manhood to old age, and whose familiar
passings, though we never spoke, are a thing of regret now,
will soon be forgotten and know me no more. I clung much
of late to all the old views and scenes, and took many
a long walk to indulge my memory. I shall see the ''pleasant
hill" many a time yet, I hope; but I have ceased to be an hahitui
and the link is fractured, if not quite broken.
30/>^ December, 1866. — Another year is falling- over into the
g-ulf, and before it passes away, I write to congratulate you and
myself on the many blessings which have befallen to you and
me, and to yours and mine, during the course of it. Chequered
it has been, as its predecessors were, and as, probably, its
successors will be, if we live ; but goodness and mercy have
been prominent throughout. For which, my dear old chap, let
us heartily thank God.
A and J came down to spend Christmas with us, so
that we were all round the same table on that day of family
gatherings. Charlie and his wife and family joined us, and we
were jolly. It was a scene worth looking at, when Charlie per-
formed some of his wonders. All the fresh and shining faces
of the youngsters, and the happy laughter of the others, including
the servants, the shepherd, and the farm groom, and a bucolic
friend. The applause was genuine, and Charlie was king of
the jollity. We ate and drank of good Christmas things, we
talked soberly, but pleasantly, of old times, and old places, and
old friends, and remembered tenderly dear old seniors departed.
We sang a little, and romped a little, and played cards a little,
and slept soundly after it all ; placing the day in our memories
with a red letter.
I hope you enjoyed the day equally. How are you all ?
Will "Sally come up" to this place ? It isn't London; but, mind
you, Rugby is not to be sneezed at — although our refreshment
rooms don't come up to the wants and wishes of cold, tired,
ill-tempered, and over-pampered travelling authors, who, in
a Christmas book, which should be all charity and forgiveness,
choose to wound and pain poor hard-working women, who have
to stand all day in the draught, about which Mr. Dickens is so
funny, and to put up with the insolence and impudence of the
British Public, who, be it said with all deference, is too often
rude to young persons behind a counter. Nevertheless, Rugby
is a neat, clean town, with good shops, and gentlemanly boys,
and civil tradesmen, and an excellent church choir, which my
daughter is about to join : —
" He hears his daughter's voice
Singing in the village choir,
And it makes his heart rejoice,"
And then we have our performing- pony and the chance of a
spill any time you ride out ; besides the excitement, occasion-
ally, of onion fairs, and horse fairs, and circuses, and the
celebrated Japanese Tommy, and always, of an evening-, the
unparalleled society of this young- fellow. Oh, yes ! Sairey
must come ; besides, I want to hear her say her catechism —
being- her g-od-father.
A CHRISTMAS CAROL.
" And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field,
keeping watch over their flocks * * * ^^^ jjjg glory of the
Lord shone round about them."
A shepherd I — these sheep of mine
Are on Christ's birthday found
Within my fold — and glories shine
In blessings all around.
For Goodness crowning all my days,
Which Mercy doth afford,
Thy Name to glorify and praise
My heart inclines, O Lord.
Unto the Saviour lead the way
Of this Thy flock, and mine;
O guide us here, Lord, that we may
Join that bright Host of Thine.
— January y 1867. — The generations passing- away, one after
the other, in what may seem a meaningless succession, the
curiously teeming- earth, full of living things, the wondrous
creations in earth and air and sea, the far-off worlds, and all
the mighty things which have passed before our eyes on our
puny little journey have not explained themselves to us — we
know nothing of their object, nor why so much labour has been
expended, the result of much of which seems to us to " waste its
sweetness." They have, however, humbled our thoughts. They
announce themselves as the works of the overwhelmingly great
Creator; and in all of them His mercy and benevolence, His
beauty and glory, shine forth. We are glad to leave the position
of carping spectators, and to fall into the ranks as a part of the
^reat family of so good and tender a Father. We remember
that He has known us from the first moment of our existence
until now — all our thoughts, and sins, and repentance, and
motives — and that He considers that we are but flesh; and we
cast ourselves unreservedly into His hands, and so rise up and
pursue our way. If the vast creation do not satisfy our craving"
after the desig-ns of God, we must be content and trust Him.
If the mysterious life and death of Jesus Christ, the need of so
g-reat a sacrifice at all, the slow process of the belief in Him,
and the doubts and fears which beset at times even the best of
Christians, do not explain themselves, we must submit and
trust Him, That Christ came, and left us an example of pure
living, and executed His divine mission in sorrow and death,
leaving- us tender words of consolation for all periods of life,,
and that He fulfilled a scheme of mercy for mankind is certain.
But as I get down the hill, and ponder on all that I have been
permitted to see. I feel confident that the plan has far greater
influence and efficacy than some of our brethren are willing to
attribute to it. I dwell upon the complicated causes of sin and
wickedness, and the nice shades of g'uilt to be shared and
appropriated, and I think of all my poor brothers lying on
the surface of this globe ; and then, in warm sympathy for
that class of created beings in which it has pleased God to
place me, I pray for all sorts and conditions of men. A
perfect Man came upon earth and was our brother. His
highest attribute was compassion. His words breathed mercy.
Then not alone for thee, my poor, blinded, bigoted brother,
nor for you alone, O man of severe countenance, died He.
If the condition be repentance, then who shall fix the quantity
of that precious thing ? May not one electric atom, as the
soul escapes, be sufficient to bring- it into the boundless
domain of that mercy which seems to be a part of everything-
we know of God? For myself, I know the worthless thing-
sin has made of this curiously constructed body which the
Almightly has entrusted to my care. I feel that if He were to
call me to account for my stewardship I should be condemned.
But He knows that I love Him, and that at times, fitful and rare
indeed, and followed by long- periods of partial forgetfulness, I
have given some indications of a disposition not unmindful of His
great goodness to me and my fellow-creatures. Feeling myself
nothing-, therefore, but a man anxious for God's mercy, in any
form that his mysterious and wonderful ways may please to
bestow it upon me, I proceed to walk the rest of the road, more
circumspectly perhaps, though I know what little trust there is
to be put in my watchfulness, but still hopeful that the same
goodness will attend me that has followed me hitherto; and when
the end comes I shall not regret to quit the perplexing world,
although I shall remember lovingly the happiness and affection
I have enjoyed therein. But something within tells me there is a
better place whither all will come — and I am content to go as I
came, at His will and command.
2<^th April, 1867. — A and J have been spending a
fortnight with us. We are walking calmly forward, we trust with
becoming dignity and a deep sense of our position, to the
venerable titles of grandfather and grandmother. We are well
aware that it would be vain to offer any remonstrance to that
unrelenting old gentleman called Time; but I feel, my dear
young friend, that it would afford me unqualified relief if I could
be permitted to give him one good hit.
I ^ih April, 1869,—
In the early train, in the rising morning,
Passing by the meadows, through the balmy air,
I began a letter unto you, my Turnbull,
In the usual manner, beautiful and rare.
But I broke my pencil, rushing by the streams,
/ Racing past the swallows, gliding as in dreams,
And I fell a-musing as I sped away
From the gloomy tunnel, plunging into day.
And you lost effusions born of morning beams.
I read Sally's letter to Bob last night. That is a treat he
gives me sometimes. Her quaint fun reads to me as though it
were "■ a diary of a lady of the blank century found" somewhere.
She is brimful of humour, like a house with Venetian blinds —
undemonstrative without, but full of merriment and music within
— glorious when the door opens on the dark night.
Bob has a £10 rise in his salary, passed to-day: £36
per annum. Awful sum ! Do you recollect when you received
that stipend? How you looked upon a man with £100 per
annum as an aristocrat, and with thoughts of what a person
you would be when your income should reach that amount ; and
how, afterwards, you found yourself rather worse off when it did;
and, further on, how opulence receded from your grasp the richer
you became ? If you do not, I can introduce you to a friend who
Trade is bad and the American business looks queer. A
war and a bad harvest would wind up our clock for a time. Let
us hope for the best, and sniff the sweet air that comes across the
newly-clad country, for we shall see only a few more such new
Our dog- broke his leg and was drowned for it the other day.
Caution your dog-.
']th May, 1869. — I have no fear for the dear old country. It
is young yet. Its strength and progress do not depend on the
amusement of the game called Debate. Good things go on
growing without the gardeners ; and if you parsons keep to the
right end of the stick and improve the minds and thoughts of the
folks, you will do better than bothering your heads about parlia-
mentarians. Charles the First said the people had nothing to
do with the government of a country. Do I not echo the senti-
ments of the martyr ? Let the swells have the seats of sound
learning and write all the teaching in newspapers, and make the
long speeches — especially after dinner, as in the good old times
of Fox and Pitt — and we shall have nothing flimsy or long-
winded, and people will learn to respect their betters, and there
will be no disestablishment of anything. But you must in that
case put down those inclinations to the three R's, which train the
common mind to vigorous thought nearly as much as do Greek
and Latin, and the mixing of mankind by those infernal machines,
the railways, and the daily living history of the world, to be had
for one penny, or else you will have these tiresome flimsy writers,
and long-winded speechifiers, and bold irreverent low fellows,
forgetting their catechism and speaking evil of dignities.
30/A August, 1869. — I shall be due at Chester on the 2nd
proximo at 9 o'clock, and I propose to present myself to your
hospitality on the afternoon of the 1st. I write beforehand in
order that the triumphal arches may be prepared and the
muslin dresses bought for the twelve Wybunbury damsels who
are to strew flowers in my way, from the entrance of the village.
Louisa will, of course, fling herself passionately on my neck at
the gate of the Vicarage. Kindly give her a hint to take care
that I am clear of the steps before she does it ; it would spoil
all if we both rolled into the road. You and the girls, I suppose,
will form a tableau at the doorway during- this interesting- part
of the ceremony. I shall leave your house about quarter to 7
a.m., on the 2nd, to catch the 7.50 train from Crewe to Chester,
so that you will be obliged to have the fireworks immediately
after the elegant repast in the evening-, in order that I may retire
to rest early and get some sleep after the serenade. The
conjuring- by the rural dean can go on while I am partaking of
refreshment, just after my arrival ; and old Johnson's hornpipe
can be done then also. Don't be long, dear friend, in reading
the address, but speak the speech, I pray you, *' as it were, in a
manner of speaking, as the saying is," you know. Let the one
volunteer form himself into line in front of the church and
commence file-firing from the right, by sub-divisions, on my
approach, and then retreat, as his custom is of an afternoon. I
presume that on the horsepicious occasion, Cliffe (the horse) will
receive two more oats than usual, and the gallant and chivalrous
Charles be requested to inspect the inside of a half-pint of beer.
I ith September, 1869. — I am on my way back with a sprained
knee, got in running last Tuesday: a hint that we ''old 'uns "
must not come the juvenile, and attempt to run. Doctor —
bathings — rubbing — grunts — ah-oh — ah-oh — no end of bother.
Every position disagreeable; everybody doing everything the
When we find that we can get a few yards with a stick, and
make it a matter of congratulation, you may conclude that,
physically, there is a screw or a large bolt a little loose, and
that our health *'aint that sulubrious." My doctor suggested a
crutch. Horrid, ^'yer washup ! '* Imagine me going to the
Committee on a crutch, for promotion, and getting made a full
lyh Sepieniher, 1 869. — After twenty-four years' pleasant
steering, here we are, — Ai, copper-bottomed, and sea- worthy.
We went over Waterloo Bridge together in a cab, and now we
have become two bands. Another twenty-four years, and
we shall probably have crossed another river — alone, — but the
fear of that journey diminishes as age reveals the universal
goodness and majesty of God, and the safety of putting our trust
in Him. Ages do not complete the revelation of His mysteries,
and we may be content with the hem of Christ's garment, to cure
our poor complaints.
i']th March, 1872. — ''And doth not a letter like this make
amends for all the long time he's been dreaming away? " said I
to myself, when I received yours of the 13th ultimo. Yea, verily,
the bottling-up did no harm. The tap is as good as ever;
it is laid on from the main, and the turncock isn't within
sight. Send me a dozen of the best. I like pleasant things said
to me — so keep on saying 'em, like a dear old chap. Indeed, I
think the sayer of good things is rewarded as he works at his
kindly office. Write you often, and try it. You will be lighter
and better for rousing yourself to do it.
28M May, 1872. — We were very sorry indeed to hear ot
your being ill. The numbness, however, is not, I think, serious.
My symptoms of the kind began early in life. I am not such a
strongly built time-piece as you, but even you, at length, require
winding-up and tinkering. Quiet, quotha ! Why, what can be
more quiet than lying on your back, in that chair of yours, shut
up in your little caboose } Change is the word. Change and
careful dieting will bring you right. There is more in this
business of regimen than we generally think. Perhaps more
Christian virtue, magnanimity, nobility, and great deeds take
their rise in what our cook calls the 'stomjack' than in the
head or the heart. What is a man without his liver ? Go to
Leamington, and see. Depend upon it, when we are falling
out with our friends, here and there — when our objection to the
expenditure in the family gives us a kind of pleasure beyond
the actual effect on our purse — when we cast about for a victim
to sacrifice to our anger when anything happens wrong, and
pitch upon people who are entirely innocent of the occurrence, —
then may we place our hand upon our abdomen as the seat
of the evil, and appeal to two of Cockle's.
Youth is generous, believes in goodness and purity, takes in
the Athanasian Creed, and goes about cheerily, with bright
hopes and lots of love for man, woman, and child, and dog —
especially Pompey. The * stomjack ' is all right : vide suet
dumplings, raw chestnuts, green gooseberries, and the like,
defied. Let him approach man's zenith — do the hospitality to
his friends — pipe to them, and overdo himself in the cause; and
you'll find him afterwards remorseful, and sad, and irritable, and
bitter ; and you may conclude that this is another screw loose in
the duodenum, and that the overtaxed gastric department has
struck work, on the short hour question.
I thought perhaps it would be agreeable to you all for Bob
to turn up to-day. The shadow of evils that may befall the home
circle — a glimpse of the horse-hair by which the sword is
suspended, strengthens old ties of love which may have been
growing a little weaker through a long season of prosperity and
happiness, sometimes. I don't think any of you want many
stimulants to stir up the affection that binds you together. The
electric wires are all well laid round you ; but some startling
evidence of calamity escaped may refresh the battery; and when
religion and thankfulness prevail, and the hearts of all are a little
softened as yours may all be, the eldest hope is as well amongst
^th June, 1872. — How my friends and confreres are dis-
appearing, and shunting into retirement, — and how the boys I
remember are beginning to assume big places ! How distant do
early things seem ! How many decades of old recollections rise
up in my mind — oldest, older, old ! —and what was but recently
new goes galloping into the venerable and shady past at a speed
that startles me often.
I am a farmer, noble sir, on the Grampion Hills, as it were.
I bought a cart and harness some twelvemonth ago, and ever
since I have been wonderingly gazing upon, or staring at my
purchase. I want to know what on earth use it is ! A thing of
beauty is a joy for ever; but a cart a'int. Hear ye! I am going
to sell it — at a loss — at a loss. The rats kill the goslings, and
the calf kicks the bucket ; the lamb gets caught in a doorway
and does for itself; the hens addle the eggs ; the horse gets a
spavin and is sold — at the precise time that the sow gobbles up
nine pigs. Pigeons, also, fall out of their nests and stun their
stupid selves ; while the young ducks eat all the asparagus.
2nd July, 1872. — Yesterday I steered my little ship round
'* London's proud city," and to Windsor, and heard part of the
evening service in St. George's Chapel — renewed acquaintance
with the beautiful monument to the Princess Charlotte, and
looked at the monument to Leopold i st, upon which the Queen
has placed an affectionate inscription. Old Windsor looks grey
and old. Iremember going to see it at the Eton Montem time. Old
Cash made the dresses and bags for the boys to beg, " Salt for
the Montem, Sir — salt," meaning money for the exhibitioner.
The boys were often rude, and some got drunk.
To day it is a pleasure to live. The sun shines, and a
pleasant breeze makes a stroll agreeable. I wish I were a parson,
with no arguments to use about trade, and rates and trains, and
no watchfulness to exercise against competitors — nothing to do
but to teach people to be good, and to make visits across green
fields to cottages and mansions.
4//1 February^ 1873. — Nuneaton. — The little farm was very
pleasurable; it never wouldhave been profitable; but the effect of the
long walk through the weather we have had this season on M
decided me to change at once, and we do feel the advantage of
being nearer the station. We are much taken with the snugness
of our new place.
We have been greatly shocked at the sudden death of our
farm-man Isaac since we left. He was a good- looking, strong,
fine young fellow. I sent him as porter to Leamington, and
about a week ago he thanked me for the nice place ; but he
caught a severe cold, which turned to brain-fever and closed his
promising young life. His aunt, who keeps a small farm near our
old house, bought my best cow, at the sale. The cow was a
beauty, but she lately died in calving : a sad loss to the poor body.
So the farming ceased gloomily.
One of our managers, a young fellow of thirty-four, died
suddenly last week, leaving a wife and seven children, and
another on the way ; and my oldest friend on the railway, Mr.
Lee, engineer of the Chester and Holyhead District, also died last
week. Dark clouds these.
You will perhaps now be little interested to know
that the Livock's old house at Hampstead has been cleared away
stock and block, and a row of tall houses and shops placed on
the site. I am sentimental perhaps, but such changes set me
*' a-thynkynge, a-thynkynge." The little neat house, the counting-
house door, and the familiar figure at the desk ; the cosy parlour
the pretty garden behind the upper floor, the weeping tree, and
the plot of grass, the roses in the summer-time, and all the
figures thereabouts on happy Sunday afternoons ; all obliterated.
And of the voices which rang young and clear in the dear old
place, some are still, and the rest are growing thin. It is a long
time ago to recall, and so much has happened since ; but the
memory of those days is mellow and sweet.
T^rd ytme, 1 874. — The bright, matured, and complete summer
is here — all vegetation teeming with its fullness and beauty. It
is a joy to live at such a time. The meadows, the trees, and the
hawthorn hedges, the sunshine and the soft wind must cheer the
saddest heart, and make the veriest grumbler admit the existence
of some blessings in this life, or, at any rate, long to he a cow and
wade among the buttercups,
6th July, 1874. — After dinner I made a wreath of beautiful
roses and carnations for my Amy's grave. She and her two
little ones lie sleeping there; but I think of their dear spirits in
Heaven, with others whom I love to muse about, and whom I shall
soon join — ah, how soon ! counting by the speed of dreaming
years which are gone, even if the Master spare me here the full
Pleasant days these happy Sundays I I read the lessons at
Church. Mr. Hands, the son of a late farmer in the neighbour-
hood, has recently taken orders, and came to read prayers in the
church of his boyhood, for the first time ; a comfort, doubtless,
to his poor old invalid mother, our neighbour. Home to supper
and the agreeable hour before bed ; and truly, our little service
of Scripture and prayer, at the close of such a day as this, should
be from grateful hearts.
\^th July, 1874. — Last night went to see a delightful
historical play called "Clancarty," written from an episode of
William the Third's reign. It is a pity that the stage is not in
all cases true to its mission of teaching elevated thought and
noble aspiration, by good plays ; instead of degrading the age
by sensational impurities and indecent spectacle.
3IJ-/ July, 1874. — Letter from old Mr. , hinting for a
small sum. Extraordinary old gentleman, that 1 Clever at making
it appear that he confers a benefit when he asks a loan. He is
86 years old, and walks into every day from , and writes
a firm, steady handwriting-, and lots of it. There has always
been something- the matter with the Finance Department of his
active brain. Always scheming ; sometimes with plenty of
money ; frequently at law ; and sometimes in poverty ; anon
''coming up smiling-; " and always alive and kicking-, up to 86
years of age. Commercially irregular, if not downright dis-
honest — yet ever religious, trusting in the providence of God
with a coolness that has often staggered me ; especially when
he has quietly gone into debt, with the full assurance that "God
^h August, 1874. — Returned last night from a, delightful
outing to Southampton and Netley, going by way of Leamington,
Reading, and Basingstoke. The journey was long, but the
weather was bright, and lit up a continued panorama of corn-
fields, and woods, and shining rivers — the corn, in luxurious
abundance, brimming the green-edged basins which held it, like
liquid gold; or lying in sheaves at the feet of the triumphant
reapers; or standing in serried rank; the proud tall stalks
awaiting the gleaming sickle to lay them low. Surely no
country presents a fairer face than this England at such a time.
The stately woods, bowing their leafy plumes on the hillside,
presenting numberless hollows and ravines, suggesting ferns and
bluebells and fragrant smells of fallen leaves and scented firs, —
and startled game, and cries and whistles from happy birds ; the
river lying molten in the glowing scene, and the cattle all resigned
and placid amidst the heat and flies ; white roads marked by
lazy teams ; spires and hamlets, stately mansions and snug
retreats. Happy country.
\st September, 1 874. — The busy autumn and winter work has
begun on this incessantly labouring Machine of a Railway Night
and day, every minute, toil the rapid forces to enable men to run
to and fro on the earth. Winter and the late autumn bring
endless work to District Managers and all concerned. '' Sharpen
your cutlass !" as Admiral Napier said when he went to fight the
Russians. I must sharpen myself for new duties, although I fear
I am getting an old blade and shall not stand the grinding of
many more years.
lOth September, 1874. — Returned home yesterday after a few-
days' agreeable holiday by the sea, and on the hills, at Borth.
Brought my wife a brooch made from the precious stones found on
the beach at Aberystwith. Curious that the sea not only
invigorates our jaded bodies by the effect of its mysterious iodine,
ozone, etc., but casts jewels at our feet as we tread the shingles
which fring-e its restless waves.
\&h September, 1874. — I had a strange dream last nig-ht. Are
these revelations in sleep, which we call dreams, the flickering
•remains of the early communications with God ?
22nd September, 1 874. — Another day of beautiful weather and
good health. Yesterday most of the home party drove to ,
Lord 's noble seat. It seems to be too full of fine paintings
and cabinets, and old china, and to have spare rooms, crammed
with such valuable things, which are never shown. The family
do not appear to occupy the place two months in the year. There
is a screw loose in the distribution of these fine things, somewhere.
26th September, 1874. — Had a fall over the catch of a turn-
table yesterday at Rugby, while running to meet the Chairman.
Barked my knee severely, and otherwise shook myself.
2^th Septembei', 1874. — On Sunday Mr. Baxter, an eminent
layman, preached in our Attleboro' schoolroom, before a large
congregation. He holds the doctrine of coming to Christ, and
immediately receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit, and becoming
sons of God, so that we cannot in future fall away, but are saved
at once and for evermore. This seems to me too bold a view, seeing
that many who entertain it do fall from grace and are guilty of
many wickednesses, especially of the sin of want of charity
towards their fellow creatures. My humble belief is that we
shall always be liable to sin in this present life, and that only in
the world to come shall we certainly know what is our eternal
destiny. Our part here is to strive against sin, both outward and
inward, trusting solely in the merits and atoning work of the
Lord Jesus Christ, and in the guidance of the Holy Spirit, for
victory now and salvation hereafter ; and hoping ever — but not
indulging in any overweening confidence, which may degenerate
nto vainglory and self-deception.
%th October f 1 874. — Harvest Thanksgiving in our little church
yesterday. No flowers, no corn, or pretty devices in stars, but
special lessons and hymns — the latter trolled forth by the strong-
country voices in gladdening- volume, while the words were
stirring. We had good and eloquent sermons, both morning
and evening, and there was a large collection for the Sunday
17M October^ 1 874. — Autumn colours come on apace; very
beautiful, but very melancholy.
30M October, 1874. — Weather muggy. I notice that in such
atmospheres the crop of disputes and differences, domestic and
otherwise, is greater than in the fine or bracing weather, when
we laugh at small matters. Meanwhile one should keep himself
well in hand and treat all these things as a part of the play. It
will soon be over; and then for the fresh air and freedom of the
better world !
4/A November, 1874. — On Monday night, 2nd instant, died
Mr. T. Shaw, of the Angel Hotel, Northampton, many years an
agent for cartage, etc., at Northampton, and formerly a coach
proprietor for the Midland Counties. A kind-hearted, genial, and
honest man ; always my agreeable and hospitable friend, whom I
shall miss very much. One by one, old faces disappear from my
circle of friends and acquaintances — bidding me reflect.
24/^ November, 1874. — Fifty-three years of age yesterday.
Many thoughts about that long period: a dream, apparently
purposeless. God knows why I was born — what object I have
fulfilled. I know nothing : an atom among the myriads of human
beings on this globe. More knowledge anon, my friend ! A
short time more — and then face to face.
Like the sweet woodbine,
Which doth entwine
The pleasant hedgerows in the summer prime ;
For to this mind of mine
Friendship is fragrance in the lanes of Time.
At every time;
In Sol's high prime,
Or when do shine
The stars which gem the sky ;
In winter's wind and snow ;
Amid the tints which glow
When Autumn sighs to know
Another year must go ;
In summer's flower show.
When silver rivers flow.
And jewelled meadows grow,
And golden sunbeams throw
Their largess far and high.
Thine in this pleasant spring
With hope in everything.
When birds their wooing sing.
Making the greenwoods ring,
Thine for aye, until we die !
While life is ours,
And the fleeting hours
Speed through the glass of Time ;
Until Life's weeds and flowers,
And its sweets and sours,
Cease to be thine or mine.
Yours — still true to you and yours —
While the remaining hours
Gather the weeds and flow'rs
Of this strange life of ours,
And the sustaining Pow'rs
Guide our poor footsteps to the goal,
Where the sad race is run,
Where all the sorrow's done,
Where, through the Mighty One,
For us the prize is won.
And Time, for us, will cease to roll.
Yours, my friend,
Till all shall end !
While yet we wend
Our footsteps o'er Life's chequered way —
While here we stay —
We'll shed the ray
Of Friendship's light, to drive away
The clouds which darken Autumn's day,
And so keep old * dall care ' away
Until we banish him for aye
With purer friendship in the sky.
Yours, while life is ours.
Whether it spits or showers.
Or rains large cats and dogs —
Blows great guns, or gentle breezes,
Among the chimney-pots and through the 'treeses' —
In sunshine or in fogs.
While here we ' stays,'
Though Fortune's ways
May change with us to-morrow j
Beneath the rays
Of summer days,
Or when our gaze
Is dim'd with haze,
Through wdntry winds or sorrow.
Through the mists of dark disheartening winter
With smiling vigour thou dost thrust thy way, O Spring !
Cheeriest daughter of old Father Time, all Nature hails thee,
And in her brightest garb adorns the meadows and the trees.
The young corn creeps through tawny earth and promises abundance
While the rich grass invites the cattle on a thousand hills.
With mimic snow the hawthorn decks the hedges,
And glowing sunshine paints the flowers anew.
Spring peeps through wiAtry clouds
And calls the timid buds
To come and dress the woods
In hopeful green :
The early flowers hail the sound,
Creep gently through the melting ground
And deck the scene.
The roaring winds — like revellers
Whom in the night the sleeper hears —
All die away, and Nature bears
The soft south breeze a-wooing ;
And tenderly the zephyrs fling
The breath of life o'er everything.;
And melody, upon the wing,
Ascends in praise, as birdies sing
And Spring's green leaves are growing.
Oh, time of Hope, so sweetly fair, ,
In human life or changeful year,
Ere sorrow's cloud, or stormy fear,
Or worldly cold, or bursting tear,
Or treachery's lie, or searching care
Youth's loveliness hath shorn !
Stay, fleeting Spring, nor hasten on
To where so many Springs have flown !
Life's year, with me, is almost gone ;
The heat and toil are nearly done ;
And I would Nature's youth prolong.
To cheer me ere I sink among
My winter thoughts forlorn.
Nature's great book of Seasons open lies
At Summer's bright page.
The lark o'er all its beauties gaily flies,
High in azure cage.
The corn, the kine, the flow'ring meads,
In sunshine glowing.
The busy insects humming seek their needs
"With joy o'erflowing.
The upland woods soft zephyrs quiver,
Chasing the light gleams ;
And in the vale the glitt'ring river
Kisses the sunbeams.
All with varied tints and sounds adorn
Thy Summer pages,
Illuminated book of years unborn
And bygone ages.
Kindly to man Thy feast is yearly spread,
The tale repeated.
•' Seedtime and harvest," as the Lord hath said,
In season meted.
While thus I linger o'er thy lovely scenes
With grateful pleasure.
And drink delight in Summer's waking dreams
W'ith strolling leisure.
Tell me thy deeper meaning, wondrous teacher,
While on earth I plod,
Be thou unto my" soul a silent preacher,
Pointing up to God.
'Tis Autumn now ; and, far and wide,
The bare earth, shorn of cereal beauty.
Yields her rifled bosom to the ruthless plough.
The flowers fade — the swallow quits the scene.
The sighing winds sing dirges sad, to dying leaves,
And whisper tales of winter.
As charms in death the singing of the swan,
The mellow beauty of the coloured woods
Doth shed around a farewell sweetness,
And the swollen stream
Murmurs its sorrow for a summer dead.
Anon the tinted Season, standing on the brink,
Flings her last garment to the prurient winds
And plunges into Winter.
The stars in tearless grief gaze out
Upon her icy coffin and her pall of snow.
The bare ungainly trees wave gaunt and dreary,
Moaning their angry sobs to barren landscapes ;
While Zero sits supreme.
Behold the harvest field,
Adorned with golden yield ;
See how the graceful sheaves
Embrace in loving wreaths,
As angels sweet
Each other greet.
With bliss complete,
When Peace on Earth, and God's good- will
To sinful Man are granted.
Let praise ascend to Heaven
For bread to mankind given.
Till thankful harmony shall fill
The Autumn air, and louder still
The hymn of joy be chanted !
(IMPROMPTU WRITTEN IN THE VISITORS' BOOK AT THE
" HAND " HOTEL AT LLANGOLLEN.)
Romantic Dee upon thy rugged strand
Fair Hospitality extends her " Hand."
Where with wine, ale, or beer.
Or other good cheer,
You've nothing to fear.
Be it cloudy or clear.
The hostess lib'ral and the waitress kind ;
The harper's music fills each passing wind ;
The whisker'd postboy drives a cosy car ;
And all things round and near quite jolly are.
And so 'twill be when I am gone,
This noisy noise will still noise on,
And other folk will cross these bridges,
And try to climb these great high ridges,
For e'en in poverty or riches
Our fleeting life at all time '* sich " is.
TO A SUNDIAL.
Thy shadow hand points to the sunny hours.
But makes no sign for cloudy days or night.
Forget we thus the days when Fortune lours,
And record only those when she is bright.
Oh, can this be the long-loved place.
The treasured memory of years?
Do my returning footsteps trace
The home of childhood but Math tears ?
Tears not of pensive joy, but those
Which manhood sheds with heaving heart
O'er loved ones lost in death's repose.
And golden hopes which now depart.
Yon village green, yon house and farm;
The Holy spire, the purling stream ;
The school-house, scene of dread alarm.
Recall to mind my boyhood's dream.
But, sad to tell, at any turn
My gaze meets no remembered face,
And I've come back alas ! to learn,
On earth there's no abiding place.
Dear Hampstead, how I love thy fields,
Thy verdant hills and prospects fair !
Each pleasant stroll fresh rapture yields,
With some new scene of beauty rare.
The humble spire amongst the trees,
Like some sweet violet, half seen,
When by the playful summer breeze
The leaves are moved which formed its screen.
That modest spire, which gently leads
The mind "from nature up to God,"
Bears more of Heaven amidst these meads,
Than temples where the great have trod.
Here have I spent my happiest hours.
And here my dearest friendships made ;
Then doubly dear, like lovers' flow'rs.
To me is every heath and glade.
If Life's rude tide should bear me far,
With cruel hand, away from thee.
In memory's sky a leading star,
Dear Hampstead, thou wilt ever be !
How can I marry, Davie dear.
Although I love so truly?
How can I leave poor sister here
To pine and die so lonely ?
Since her Jamie went to sea,
And sank beneath the billow,
Her broken heart has clung to me.
And I have soothed her pillow.
O Davie, Davie, urge no more !
I dare not listen to thee !
We'll meet again, when life is o'er ;
Here love must yield to duty.
And now the struggle's past, farewell
Think of me sometimes kindly ;
In twilight musing, when the spell
Of memory shall bind thee.
A CHRISTMAS CAROL.
(Relating to my family gathering at Christmas, 1866,)
A shepherd I — these sheep of mine
Are on Christ's birthday found
Within my fold — and glories shine
In blessings all around.
For goodness crowning all my days
Which mercy doth afford,
Thy Name to glorify and praise,
My heart inclines, O Lord !
Unto the Saviour lead the way
Of this Thy flock and mine ;
Oh, guide us here, Lord, that we may
Join that bright host of Thine !
Music is sweetest in the Saddest air ;
And pleasure keenest when it follows care.
Riches are holy when they grief remove ;
The sharpest anger oft doth friendship prove.
Hatreds are deepest when through love they move .
And Kings are strongest when they rule by love.
The world is full of reconcil'd extremes :
One act distresses and the next redeems.
When Adam fell the gracious Promise came —
New hope to cheer the sorrow and the shame.
So while the rainbow shines on tearful days
Ever should mortals seek Life's cheering rays.
Nor sink beneath Time's brief, though cruel pain :
Dark days but veil the sun — he shines again.
Calm be thy night of slumber, lady fair ;
Light be thy resting, till the morning air
And merry sunbeams bring another day,
Restoring health and joy to cheer thy way
And strew thy path with Hope's sweet cheering ray.
Clear brooklets speed to reach the sedgy stream,
Losing their sparkle in the broader tide ;
And maidens hasten to life's deeper dream
Regardless of the woes to which they glide.
Avoid the danger, gentle lady fair !
Content gives happiness beyond compare ;
Our present joys are best, though they be few.
O'er fancies sigh not, nor for "pastures new."
Keep fast those hopes, you need not fear to rue.
My first is dark, but changes hues
With moon and stars and weather ;
My second unto all is dear,
And charms the ladies ever.
My whole shapes fair the rudest form ;
By day I'm cool, at night I'm warm.
When I am travelling not, I ride
Upon the line full often ;
A mangled thing I oft become,
Though not a bone is broken.
E'en when the shades of night descend
I'm still upon the sleepers ;
And yet from home I'm ne'er away
When morn opes pretty peepers.
In hall and cottage I reside.
When life begins I'm by your side,
And seldom quit though death betide.
* A Nisrht-dress.
POEMS WITHOUT RHYME OR METRE.
So sadly still ! No sound of voice, no hum of bees, nor song of birds, nor
sound of laden cart, nor bark of dog, nor shout of boy, nor clink of gate, nor low
of kine. Like funeral plumes, the waving trees sway melancholy ; but the murmur
of the wind is not to me. I stalk along oppressed, like some sad ghost; and
Nature's face, so beautiful to see, wears mocking silence everywhere.
NEW COLLEGE, OXFORD.
I sat within the sacred place, behind men clad in white raiment, who sang
praises to God, and I listened to sweet sounds entwined with holy words to stir the
soul ; and one of those in white said prayers, in tones akin to song, which rang
throughout the vaulted space, and lingered, as though angels bore the words away.
Then, when from out the throats of stalwart singers burst the harmonious anthem,
softened by the melody of youthful voices, and bade the earth be joyful in the Lord,
my heart fell down in grateful praise to Him who made all sound and other things
of beauty, and I went forth as from a Heaven on earth, stronger and purer for my
She pauses on the threshold of her marriage days, to look once more on that
dear place she leaves, and in the sweet recesses of her niemoiy a pensive vision of
the happy past she sees. The firelight chat in snug vi^arm winter room. The
loving laughter and the tender chide — the words of wisdom and instruction rare,
from gifted lips — the pleasant ride — the meadow stroll within the fold of his fond
arm who guides her now no more. Paternal love, less passionate than his who
claims her now, yet oh ! how true. How hard to say, ** No more ! No more ! ''
Her girlhood gone, a golden light of love sheds beauty on the common things of
life which happened in that homely, happy place ; and treasured in her heart are
all the words of her whose anxious care and never-weary hands tended her gi-owth
from infancy till now, sorrowed with her sigh, and loved her smile, and gloried in
her hope of wedded joy. Ah me ! the chapter's told, and nought remains but
recollection ; but she prays that God will grant a leaven of the good she learnt
beneath her father's roof, and sanctify her new-made home with peace.
Voltaire says that everybody is an anvil or a hammer.
I am content with the patient role of the anvil. Yet a word to the hammer ;
It is the regulated stroke which produces the ''harmonious blacksmith."
Indiscriminate force may fracture the anvil and destroy its usefulness, as well as the
music which sweetens labor.
FURTHER POEMS, &c.
As birds unconscious cheer with melody -
At eventide a listening mortal's ear,
So noble deeds in man, with harmony
Do from his grieved angel chase a tear.
Life is like a sleeper's dream,
A summer cloud, a rippled stream :
But Oh ! some dreams are agony ;
And clouds with bursting tears we see ;
And streams there are seek eagerly
The bosom of the boundless sea,
The emblem of Eternity.
The mighty may steal and the multitude plunder.
And call the dark deed a gilt virtue, all brave ;
But the villain who ventures to steal for his hunger
Must surely be crush'd, the world's morals to save.
CATASTROPHE ON REGENT'S PARK WATER.
A hurrying scene of skating men,
And shouts of glee prevailed, and then
A surging heave, and through the air
Rang screams of panic and despair.
In yawning gulf, or broken square.
Of treacherous ice, the hundreds there
Went down, to strive with death.
The brave held on, with "bated breath,"
And swimmers swam, and down beneath.
With struggles fierce, and gnashing teeth,
Sank those whom aid could ne'er relieve ;
While on the fatal water's bank,
With frantic arms and faces blank,
Ran to and fro a helpless band.
With eager minds to help and land
Their friends immersed ; but nought to hand
Save trifling means and mocking aid ;
And women wept, and some one said,
'Twas "No use risking for the dead."
But bravely plunged some nobler men.
And fought the blocks, brought children in,
And did the hero's work. Ah me !
We sometimes read of, sometimes see
Such horror on the stormy sea ;
But never may it fall to me
Again to view such agony.
When the heart by affliction is lowered
The soul takes its loftiest flight.
As steel shines the brightest when scoured.
And stars beam the brightest at night.
ROMANS, I2TH Chap.
Let not conceit e'er whisper thou art wise,
Crush out the will to spite an evil deed,
Provide things honestly before all eyes.
Live peaceably, and peace shall be thy meed.
When hunger presses on a fallen foe,
With unknown hand relieve his bitter need ;
Should thirst oppress him, let thine aid o'erflow ;
Thy good be greater, though thy wound still bleed.
WE TWO— DARBY AND JOAN.
The shadows lengthen o'er the lea,
The sunset gleams on tower and tree,
And twilight comes to you and me
In grateful gentle memory.
In youth we shared Life's thoughtless mom
Ere yet to us a care was born,
When Hope and Joy our pathway strewed,
And Love each day some grace renewed ;
And time was short, and pleasure long,
And one was fair, and both were strong.
Still hand in hand, when noontide came,
Life's lighter struggles found the flame
Of loving trust burn steadily,
To lighten sorrows cheerily.
Then when the little children's voices
Charmed the home with tender noises,
Cared we, the least, whate'er befel
Our daily lot, so they were well ?
Contented, busy, careful time.
Our proud and earnest mid-day prime.
Can we forget the hour of woe.
When deep affliction brought us low,
Or how its fire purified
Our spirits, as the gold is tried?
Ah, No ! the darkness might betide,
But soon appeared the silver side.
And bade us cast our grief and fears
On Him who sends or dries our tears.
For children's children round our board,
And "troops of friends" in kind accord,
For peace in our declining days.
And comfort in a thousand ways,
Thy Name, O Lord, we bless and praise !
Of lives so long and richly blest
We humbly leave to Thee the rest.
To ALFRED TENNYSON.
Noble sympathetic spirit,
Shout thou to future ages Virgil's fame;
And with thy voice harmonious
Enshrine with his for ever thy fair name.
When vexations press,
And you're feign to confess
That the world is a mess.
And those whom you love
Are as weak as a dove,
Or as mild as, say, cream,
Then think of the nought of it.
Flee from the thought of it,
Change the regime !
THE WIDOW'S PRAYER.
May angels guard my daughter's life,
Her nights from danger and her days from strife
In heavenward paths may she for ever go,
And taste that peace the world cannot bestow :
So when that He whose hand alone can save
Shall call her mother to the silent grave,
May He, when thus He shall remove
A mother's care, a mother's love,
Guard the lone orphan with His heavenly grace,
And with His love supply a mother's place ;
And when to earth her last farewell is given.
May hallowed spirits join our souls in Heaven !
By the Church and up the Road,
We come upon a white Abode ; —
Orchard and lawn and fount and flowers,
Fish-pond and grounds, and sylvan bowers
Surround the home, where rest and peace
Hold gentle court among the trees ;
And oh ! what lasting memory
Is stored around the red beech tree.
Where bowls and quoits are often play'd
Beneath the ever-welcome shade.
A kindly-hearted couple here
Have dwelt for many a happy year,
And time so tenderly doth lay
His hand on them, — that strange to say
It is their Golden Wedding Day.
And out of the train.
Come pouring like rain,
In highest of glee up the steps of the door,
A troop of descendants, some forty or more ;
The fathers and mothers,
The sisters and brothers.
The big and the little, the short and the tall.
Yet the jolly Old Homestead has room for them all,
And while the rooms with kisses ring,
This is the Song they sweetly sing : — •
We come to hail the day,
And greet its Golden ray.
To cheer you on your way,
Loving kind Parents ;
To you from whom we sprung,
For care when we were young.
We offer Presents,
In helpless infancy.
When boys and girls were we.
Your arms were round us ;
In youth and maidenhood.
Your watchful care withstood.
When evil found us.
In many an after year,
Advice and wisdom clear.
From you were ever near
• To aid and guide us ;
And still at every time,
Your willing voices chime
To help us live and shine,
With you beside us.
God bless the Golden Day,
All of us hope and pray,
While, from so far away,
Greeting each other
Pray we for happiness
All your green age to blesH
And with our love caress
Father and Mother.
Not in the pale sick room.
Amidst sad sighs and sorrow.
Wishing the day were night.
Wishing the night were morrow.
Not with the groan of pain,
With nurse however tender.
And leech profound and grave,
May I my soul surrender.
But when some honest work,
By faithful truth and duty,
Drawn to a pleasant end,
Gives to my thoughts a beauty.
Or when with secret sin,
I in remorse have striven.
And some sweet hope within
Assures me I'm forgiven.
Then let the bright shaft speed
Swift to its waiting centre,
Unlock the gates of Life
And bid my spirit enter.
In the year 1890, a terrible domestic calamity befel Mr.
Stevenson, and the Directors, " in recognition of his long aftd faithful
services'' placed him on the retired list with aii^ g.i iiftle provision
for his declining years. — Editor,
t witn an^»i£ie^m^\
jfs^ OF thb'^CI^
UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA— BERKELEY
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